Akhtar Colony bedeviled by multi by chenshu

VIEWS: 187 PAGES: 127

									                            Akhtar Colony bedeviled by multi-storied buildings
Several residents of Akhtar Colony, considered one of the most peaceful areas of Karachi, are constructing multiple-storey
buildings in the locality, thereby creating numerous civic issues.

Consequently, real estate prices in the area are very high here in comparison with other parts of the city. A plot of 80
square yards here is priced between Rs2 to 2.5 million.

Akhtar Colony is named after noted politician and social worker Mian Akthar Paganwala, who belonged to Gujrat. It is
adjacent to Defence Housing Authority and is situated at a short distance from Korangi Road.
The colony has a population of around 35,000 inhabitants that live in approximately 3,500 house units. 35 per cent of the
total population belongs to the Christian community. Administratively, Akhtar Colony is part of Union Council (UC)-1,
Jamshed Town.

Residents, generally retired government employees, invest their gratuity and other savings in buying plots in the colony and
then construct multiple-storey buildings on these 80 square yards plots. After the construction of the building, they rent out
a number of these floors and manage to earn Rs35,000 to 40,000 a month this way.

However, this trend of high-rise buildings is causing several problems for residents of the area. To begin with, such
buildings create water shortage besides multiplying the sewerage and sanitation problems in the locality.
There are five sectors in the colony namely A, B, C, D and E, each of which consist of around 50 streets, a number of
which are properly carpeted. However, digging to lay different utility lines damages the carpeting of streets off and on.
Sometime back, there was no shortage of water in Akhtar Colony but as a consequence of the introduction of high-rise
buildings in the locality some sectors such as Sector E are facing a severe shortage of water.

Karachi Building and Control Authority (KBCA) is responsible for dealing with issues such as the construction of high-rise
buildings and, by the looks of it, it appears that it has failed to control this phenomenon in the locality.

Akthar Colony was inhabited during the late sixties and was granted lease orders in 1995. During the tenure of the last City
Nazim, Naimatullah Khan, 75 per cent of the house units were granted lease status.
The locality is composed of an ethnic mix where a majority of the population speaks Punjabi while the rest speak Hindko,
Pushto and Urdu. The colony also boasts an eighty per cent literate rate.

Speaking to the UC Nazim, Zahoor Jadoon, it was revealed that garbage collection is an important matter which needs be
addressed to keep areas such as Akhtar Colony, Azam Basti and Manzoor Colony clean.
He said it often happens that sweepers lift deposit from a drain and leave it out alongside the drain. He added that
generally tractor trolleys are sent by the town administration so late that these deposits find their way into the drain again.
As a result, he was of the opinion that his UC should be allowed to have its own tractor trolley allowing it to transport
garbage in a timely manner from its localities.

Furthermore, Jadoon stated that the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) bills are delivered on a monthly basis but
people usually postpone payment. He said that at present only 15 per cent of the consumers are paying this bill on a
regular basis. This issue can be solved easily if KWSB adopts a certain strategy, he added.

On this matter, he is of the opinion that KWSB should send its bill with the electricity bill. He believes that in this way the
board will also be able to keep track of the exact number of consumers easily. It is interesting to note that the board is
currently charging its consumers Rs25 per month.
He also asserted that the city Nazim should directly control organisations such as KBCA and KWSB. Jadoon added that
this will help make these organisations more efficient and responsible.
(By Qadeer Tanoli, The News-19, 01/07/2007)



                                   Speaker acquitted in land allotment case
KARACHI, July 2: An accountability court on Monday acquitted Sindh Assembly Speaker Syed Muzzafar Hussain Shah in
an illegal land allotment case.

Mr Shah was charged with selling 75 acres of the KPT land along Mai Kolachi Bypass at a throwaway price in 1992, thus
causing a huge loss to the national exchequer. He was then chief minister of Sindh.
It was reported that he had sold the land for Rs204.977 million whereas the actual price of the land stands at Rs3,000
million.

The case was transferred from an anti-corruption court to the National Accountability Bureau in March this year. NAB filed
the reference (No 8/2007) against Mr Shah on March 5, 2007.
Other accused in the reference include Haji Adam Jokhio and a former employee of Karachi Port Trust, Rasool Bukhsh
Rahoo.

Mr Shah, through his counsel, had submitted an application to the Accountability Court No 1 pleading that he was misled
about the land allotment and he cancelled the allotment order of Dec 6, 1992 on the very next day (ie Dec 7, 1992).

Judge Syed Aley Maqbool Rizvi had earlier fixed June 30 for the pronouncement of his judgment in the case, but the
accused was not present and his counsel had requested for his exemption from attending the court.
However, the court adjourned the pronouncement of the order and made the provincial assembly speaker‘s presence
mandatory on the next date.

On July 2, Mr Shah arrived at the court at 9.55am. For about two-and-a-half hours, he waited for the pronouncement of the
judgment in the courtroom.
The court acquitted him in the case. However, the rest of the accused would face the trial, sources in NAB told Dawn.
(By Ali Hazrat Bacha, Dawn-17, 03/07/2007)

                                                              1
                                 Builder stopped from further construction
KARACHI, July 4: The Sindh High Court restrained a builder on Wednesday from raising further construction or creating
third party interest in the allegedly unauthorised structure raised by him and issued him and the Lyari Town police officer
notices for July 9.

A division bench comprising Justices Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Maqbool Baqar allowed a Karachi Building Control
Authority appeal for urgent hearing of its petition against the builder constructing a ground-plus-seven-floor commercial
residential complex on plot number 61-LY 12, Lyari Town, without any sanction.

When the KBCA demolition squad approaches the building, the builder and his henchmen threaten and intimidate it. The
Lyari Town police officer and the station house officer of Baghdadi refuse to provide police assistance. Lyari being a
congested and sensitive area, the KBCA is unable to perform its functions under the Sindh Building Control Ordinance and
the Karachi Building and Town Planning Regulations without police aid.

KBCA counsel Shahid Jamil Khan informed the bench that the building was only one of the hundreds of unauthorised
structures being raised in Lyari. The KBCA had been compelled to become a silent spectator due to the absence of police
assistance. He submitted an initial list of 47 violative buildings and said that the KBCA could not take any action under the
law or even in compliance of court orders.
The bench ordered inspection of the site by a commissioner, passed temporary injunctions and issued notices to the
respondents.

Doctor’s detention
The Sindh High Court asked the federal interior ministry on Tuesday to produce the recommendations of the federal review
board on the detention of a doctor under the Security Act.
The detainee, Dr Ali Raza Zaidi, is lodged in the Central Prison, Karachi, for production before the high court. He was
deported from Dubai and picked up on arrival at Karachi on June 4, 2006.

The government belatedly informed the court that he was being held under the Security Act and that his detention had been
sanctioned by the federal review board, initially for three months. His case was to come up again before the review board.

Representing the federal interior secretary, Advocate Mohammad Ashraff Kazi informed a division bench comprising
Justices Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Maqbool Baqar on Wednesday that the board is scheduled to meet on July 7 to review
Dr Zaidi‘s detention. The bench asked the counsel to produce the board‘s recommendation on July 11. The detainee would
also be produced on that date.

Mosque accepts offer
The Qadri Masjid Trust finally accepted the city district government (CDGK) offer of Rs12.5 million in exchange for its land
acquired for the Lyari Expressway in PIB Colony.
The bench observed that the petitioner trust would have to produce valid title deeds instead of proof of a mere possession
to sustain its claim.

A compromise had already been reached by the petitioner with the city district government and the bench passed a
consent order disposing of the petition in terms of the agreement.

Under the compromise, also signed by CDGK counsel Manzoor Ahmad and petitioner‘s counsel Shaukat Ali Shaikh, about
500 square yards are involved in the deal. The CDGK had calculated payment at the rate of Rs10,000 per square yard for
the land and Rs750 per square yard as the construction cost. The trust wanted the diversion of expressway but the project
director said it was not technically feasible.

Advocate Ahmad said only such land as was required for the project would be acquired and the shrine adjoining the
mosque and madressah would be saved.

CNG pump barred
The bench also vacated an interim order allowing installation of a CNG station in a residential area of the PECHS at the
owner‘s risk.
A single bench had ordered that installation of a pump could be completed at the owner‘s risk though it would not be
allowed to operate pending litigation. The order was challenged by the plaintiff residents through Advocate M. Zahid Khan
and the bench set it aside in appeal.

The CNG station is sought to be installed on plot number 140-A, Allama Iqbal Road, Block 2, PECHS. The residents
instituted a suit for its demolition.

CSD restrained
Another division bench consisting of Justices Mushir Alam and Ali Sain Dino Metlo restrained the Central Stores
Department from dispossessing petitioner Safia Bano, tenant of a shop on its premises.

Advocate Sohail Hameed submitted on behalf of the petitioner that she acquired the shop on a lump sum payment of
Rs100,000 and monthly rent. She had been regularly paying the rent but had been served an eviction notice to vacate the
premises within a week. The bench issued the CSD and the parent ministry notices for a date in office and barred the
tenant‘s eviction subject to payment of monthly rent.

Case transferred
The case against sales tax collector Javed Iqbal Mirza was transferred by a division bench from accountability court
number V to I. The official is being prosecuted by the National Accountability Bureau for having assets disproportionate to
known sources of his income.

Seeking transfer of the case, Advocate Raja Qureshi alleged misrecording of evidence by the trial court. The new trial court
would conduct the remaining part of the proceedings.
(By Shujaat Ali Khan, Dawn-17, 05/07/2007)

                                                             2
                                  KBCA declares Friends Square dangerous
KARACHI, July 4: The Karachi Building Control Authority has declared the Friends Square building in Malir Town
dangerous and issued a notice to its residents to vacate it.
The KBCA committee on dangerous buildings issued such a notice in view of its dilapidated condition, stating that the
building on plot no 427, Bostan Raza Model Colony, Malir, might collapse during a windstorm and heavy rains and cause
loss of life and property. The KBCA in a statement on Wednesday said it would not be responsible for any tragedy if the
inmates did not vacate the building.

Meanwhile, the KBCA demolition squad carried out operations in various towns of Karachi and razed illegal structures.
The team demolished illegal RCC columns on plot SR-13, 16/1 at the sixth floor of the building and also pulled down
shutterings in Serai Quarters, Saddar Town.
It also demolished illegal structures, a partition and construction at the fifth floor on plot 6-SR-9 in the same area.
In Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Block-3, Bihar Muslim Cooperative Housing Society, on Plot 192, the partition walls of the second floor
were demolished while the steel bars of columns were removed.
(Dawn-18, 05/07/2007)



                                          Quaid’s birthplace in jeopardy
Wazir Mansion, the birthplace of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, situated at Kharadar is in danger due to its
dilapidated condition, further aggravated by the negligence of concerned authorities and the recent spell of thunder storm
and rains. The entire structure of this historic building has been damaged by rains, as the rainwater entered into the
premises through pores on the walls. According to a survey conducted by the PPI, the important national monument is in
an extremely vulnerable condition. Some of the people residing around the Wazir Mansion said that they have seen that the
rainwater has accumulated at the rooftop during the recent rains. Small pieces of the balcony have also fallen during the
recent days, said a neighbour.
(The News-19, 06/07/2007)



                            Real estate turns crumbly but residents stand firm
KARACHI: The people living in the three-storey Friends Square apartment building have been told by the KBCA that they
must leave because the structure is unsafe. The problem is that they are all poor and would have no place to go.
―The government is giving Rs 5,000 as compensation to the students of Lal Masjid who challenged the law,‖ said one
occupant. ―But the government can‘t pay attention to people living in risky conditions.‖

The state of the ground-plus-two floor building on the 307-square yard plot Number 427, Bostan Raza Society in Model
Colony, Malir, is bad. The walls are cracked from the ground to the top and the roof‘s plaster has fallen.
―I have been living in this building for the last four years but the owners never spent a single penny on maintenance,‖ said
Azeem Farooqui of flat Number A-3. ―The government should at least provide shelter for all 15 families.‖

The KBCA had declared the building dangerous some six months ago and asked the civic agencies to cut off the
connections. ―KESC disconnected their connections but the residents have been using illegal ‗kundas‘ in connivance with
KESC officials,‖ Farooqui said. Another resident confirmed that the KESC, SSGC and KWSB are owed hefty bills in service
charges. ―Some two years ago, the aggravated residents pulled down the KESC meters after they disconnected the
electricity,‖ he said. The tenants now use gas cylinders in their kitchens.

Saeeda has been living in flat No. A-1 for the last 20 years with her children after her husband died in an accident. ―The
level of brackish water is much higher than that of the surrounding localities which is why the floors are crumbling,‖ she
said, adding that she doesn‘t have enough money to move elsewhere if they are evicted because she supports her family
by teaching the Quran.
Others have followed the rules by the book. Safia, for example, is the owner of one of the flats, and has a proper gas
connection. ―We recently purchased this flat for Rs 100,000 and obtained a court order for the SSGC connection because
they had been disconnected on the directives of the KBCA,‖ she said.
(By Jamil Khan, Daily Times-B1, 06/07/2007)



                                                Makli tombs in danger
THE state of neglect of historical monuments in the country extends to even those sites that are internationally protected,
such as the Makli necropolis in Thatta. Containing the remains of kings, queens and Sufi saints among others, the
hundreds of thousands of centuries‘ old tombs in Makli span several dynasties and are a testimony to the richness of Sindhi
heritage. That today they are being vandalised and allowed to decay shows just how lax and unconcerned the
archaeological authorities are to the decrepit state of one of the largest graveyards in the world. As pointed out in this paper
some time ago, Makli‘s charm is vanishing. There is little to encourage tourists to visit the site. Basic facilities such as
toilets and clean water are missing while many visitors are unable to satisfy their curiosity as some of the mausoleums are
locked.

It is unfortunate that the value of monuments such as those at Makli is not fully recognised. By allowing them to crumble,
we are depriving ourselves of a cultural heritage of which many in other countries would have been justly proud. As the
world modernises, links with the past become tenuous and it becomes all the more important to preserve those relics of
ancient glory that can help foster national pride and so inculcate a sense of nationhood. In a people as divided as us, this is
all the more important. The authorities should wake up to this truth and recognise that preserving heritage can have an
effect that is beyond mere aesthetics as it is instrumental in creating values that can contribute to strengthening national
consciousness about a past that is to be shared by all. This can only be done if the government takes more interest in
properly maintaining historical sites and penalising those who vandalise them.
(Dawn-7, 09/07/2007)
                                                               3
                                                      Building hazard
Despite the numerous instances of fires in Karachi, several major buildings in the city‘s commercial and business districts,
thronged every day by thousands of shoppers, remain without any semblance of fire-related infrastructure. Nothing is being
done in this regard by the city administration or by the owners of the buildings, and the structures continue to be potential
fire hazards. It is clearly visible that there are no fire escapes in the buildings that house countless shops, making an
escape in the case of a huge fire next to impossible for those present therein. Most shops in these malls have installed their
own shoddy, makeshift electrical wiring — either directly to electricity meters or to generators located outside the mall —
that easily can cause a short circuit or spark that could ignite fire. The practice of not having fire exits or fire extinguishers,
the over crowing of isles on the floors and the absence of any sort of planning to train shop-keepers how to react in
instances of fires can easily result in an unfortunate accident anytime. While it is the responsibility of the owners of these
buildings to ensure the safety of the occupants, the responsibility of making sure that these infrastructural and procedural
laws are implemented lies solely with governmental authorities, particularly the Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA).

The enormous fire that gutted a building in the city‘s Clifton area a fortnight or so ago showed yet again how ill-prepared
and unequipped the city‘s infrastructure and personnel are in cases of fires. Though the value of the damage to goods and
property fell into the millions, there was, fortunately, no loss of life. However, the situation could easily be different in future
cases, which is something that the city government must realize. Unfortunately, it seems that it takes a disaster of
enormous proportions before authorities take any action on eliminating dangers to ordinary people that are evident well
before the incident. This is a trend that is true for civic agencies not just in Karachi but in all urban centres of the country
and needs to be rectified so as to minimise loss of life and property in fires.
(The News-7, 09/07/2007)



                                                Problem of urbanisation
URBANISATION remains an under researched and under analysed subject in Pakistan. It has not been seriously
investigated by academics, policy analysts and policymakers in the country. The result is that urbanisation is neither the
subject of serious discourse nor a major public policy concern.
That is unfortunate since the problems the rapid growth of urban population will pose will tax the country‘s meagre
institutional capacity, challenge public resources already under stress and sow the seeds of social and political discontent.

The neglect of what might be called the urban problem by policymakers will also take a heavy economic toll on the country.
I will set the stage for a discussion of the phenomenon of urbanisation as it relates to Pakistan by first noting the main
conclusions reached in a report recently released by the United Nations Populations Fund.

The United Nations report focuses on the trends in the developing world. It is significant that Pakistan does not share many
trends noted by the United Nations agency.

The UN report titled ―State of World Population 2007: Unleashing the Potential of Urban Growth‖, concludes that by the end
of 2008, more than one half of the world‘s population of 6.75 billion will live in urban areas. This will be the first time in
human history that towns and cities will have more residents than the countryside.
The change is expected to be particularly swift in the continents of Asia and Africa where between 2000 and 2030, the
accumulated urban growth in this three-decade period will be greater than during the whole span of human history. This
increase in population will be the result of both natural increase as well as rural-migration.

Such a large movement of people within a relatively short span of time will have consequences not only for the countries in
which such changes are occurring but for the entire world.

The report notes that this is the second great wave of urbanisation in human history. The first occurred over two centuries,
from 1750 to 1950, in Europe and North America, with urban population increasing from 15 million to 423 million.
In the second wave involving the developing world, the number of people living in urban areas will increase from 309 million
in 1950 to an expected 3.9 billion in 2030, a 13-fold increase in 80 years. By that year, developing countries are expected
to have 80 per cent of the world‘s urban population.
The report reaches the surprising conclusion that the bulk of the urban population growth will be in small cities and towns,
not in the 20 mega cities that have been the focus of policymakers‘ attention for decades.

Demographers define mega cities to be those with populations of more than 20 million. These cities have grown rapidly
over the last half century and now contain nine per cent of all urban inhabitants in the world. But, the UN notes, that their
growth has slowed down for a variety of reasons.
In fact only two of the mega cities — Lagos in Nigeria and Dhaka in Bangladesh — will grow at rates exceeding three per
cent a year. ―Many of the world‘s largest cities — Buenos Aires, Calcutta, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, and Seoul — actually
have more people moving out than in, and few are close to the size that doomsayers predicted for them in the 1970s,‖ write
the authors of the UN report. This conclusion, as I will discuss below, does not seem right for Pakistan.

Not only will the cities and towns in the developing world have more people than its villages, they will also have more poor
people. Poverty is increasing more rapidly in urban areas. A billion people, about a sixth of the world‘s population today,
already live in slums.

Notwithstanding the growing size of the urban population, no large city in the developing world has planned for the poor.
Majority of them live in slums located in the areas not reached by public service providers.
According to George Martine, the author of the United Nations study: ―The poor settle in the worst living space, on steep
hillsides or river banks that will be flooded, where nobody wants to live and where speculators haven‘t taken control of the
land. They have no water and sanitation, and the housing is terrible. And this situation threatens the environmental quality
of the city.‖

But the report does not focus entirely on the negative aspects of urbanisation. It notes that while ―cities concentrate poverty,
they also represent the best hope of escaping it.‖ They can become engines of economic growth, bringing to one place
activities that perform more efficiently when they cluster people, institutions and enterprises together.

                                                                 4
The trick for policymakers, therefore, is to balance the advantages that result from the collection of a very large number of
people in a small place with the problems that inevitably result when so many people live in a small area. Let me now take
up the situation in Pakistan.

Pakistan‘s history of urbanisation is different from that of most large developing counties. This is for a number of reasons.
The major difference in the nature and scope of urbanisation in Pakistan compared to that in a typical developing country is
that for the former it resulted initially from international migration, not from the more common rural to urban movement of
people.

In the case of Pakistan, a significant number of migrants were pushed towards towns and cities by political events over
which they had little control. Over the last six decades, Pakistan has been subjected to large waves of forced migrations
that have changed the country‘s geographic, economic and political landscapes.
These movements of people remain to be studied to fully comprehend the changes they have brought. Some of them were
positive and some others have posed problems that are unique to Pakistan.

The largest movement of people occurred in 1947 when eight million refugees from India moved to the new state of
Pakistan. While those who arrived in Pakistan displaced six million Hindus and Sikhs who moved in the opposite direction,
the refuges tended to settle in the cities rather than go to the countryside from which considerable out-migration had taken
place. The migration, in other words, brought about a significant increase in the proportion of people living in Pakistan‘s
towns and cities.

In 1947, what is Pakistan today had a population of only 32 million of which less that 16 per cent was urbanised. The five
million people who lived in towns and cities were concentrated in Lahore — Pakistan‘s largest city at the time of its creation
— and half a dozen cities of central Punjab.

But the arrival of refugees from India moved the centre of gravity of the urban population in Pakistan from central Punjab to
southern Sindh. This was to have profound economic and political consequences for the country.

Karachi was the most affected city by the migration that accompanied the birth of Pakistan. It quickly grew into an urban
centre of more than a million people from a small seaside town of 250,000 people.When Pakistan took its first census in
1951, its population was estimated at 1.066 million. Of these 608,000, or 57.1 per cent, were refugees from India. The city
had absorbed one third of the refugee population that settled in the urban areas. Other urban centres of Sindh also
attracted the refugees.

In 1951, Hyderabad, to the north of Karachi, had a population of 237,000 of which 156,000, or 64.5 per cent, were
refugees. In Sukkur, refugees made up 54.5 per cent of the total. That said, the cities in Sindh did not have the largest
proportion of refugees. That distinction went to the city that was then called Lyallpur (now Faisalabad) in which refugees
accounted for 70.4 per cent of the total population.

Lahore, which in 1951 was no longer the largest city in the country, having lost that position to Karachi, had 386,000
refugees making up 45.5 per cent of the total population of 849,000.
A very large number of people who had left India looking for security and job opportunities were attracted to Karachi for the
simple reason that it was chosen to be the capital of Pakistan. Those who did not find space in Karachi went to some of the
cities that were not too distant from it.

While cities such as Hyderabad and Sukkur did not increase in size by as much as Karachi, they also attracted hundreds of
thousands of refugees from India. The migration of India changed the economic, political, cultural and social landscapes of
lower Sindh. This happened because this area did not lose as many people to out-migration as did the Punjab.

For lower Sindh, the settlement of refugees from India constituted a net addition to the population. Hindus retained a
significant presence in Sindh which was not the case in the Punjab. One of them — Rana Bhagwandas — went on to
become Pakistan‘s Acting Chief Justice in early 2007.

The second large wave of migration also affected Karachi. It resulted from the capital city‘s need for construction workers
and workers in the service and industrial sectors.
It was this migration that brought several Pathan colonies to Karachi and gave the city a multi-ethnic character. By the time
the government moved out of Karachi, the city had three distinct ethnic groups that did not easily mix with one another.

The refuges took the name of Mohajirs and continued to follow their own culture and continued to use their own language
while the Sindhis — the original inhabitants of the city — withdrew to the background. Pathan migration brought another
large ethnic group to the city which also did not assimilate well with other communities.

The third wave of migration began in the 1980s with the Soviet Union‘s invasion of Afghanistan. As the Soviets were
vigorously challenged by the Afghan freedom fighters, there was much economic dislocation in the country, particularly in
the areas bordering Pakistan.

While the men took up arms against the occupying force, their families moved across the border into Pakistan and into the
scores of refugee camps set up for them all along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Had the war not lasted as long as it did,
there was some chance that the refugees would have gone back to their country and their homes. But peace did not return
to Afghanistan and a large number of refugees left the camps and found jobs in the large cities of Pakistan.

Three of Pakistan‘s large cities were affected in particular. Karachi, already a large Pathan city, was particularly attractive
for the refugees. Peshawar, the capital of the Pathan majority province of the North West Frontier Province and that draws
its name from a Persian word that means ―on the border‖, had become the centre of the resistance to the Soviet Union‘s
occupation of Afghanistan.

It was inevitable that some of the refugees would be sucked into the politics of that conflict. A significant number of Afghan
refugees also went to Islamabad, the city that housed a number of agencies that were involved with the provision of relief to
the people displaced by the Afghan conflict.


                                                              5
Pakistan, in other words, urbanised differently than other developing countries. Its large cities were formed in part by the
arrival of refugees who had left their homes for political rather than economic reasons. How this pattern of city development
affected Pakistan is a subject worthy of study. I will get into it in the article next week.
(By Shahid Javed Burki, Dawn-7, 10/07/2007)



                                         Affordable housing for the masses
Basic housing remains out of the reach for the bulk of Pakistanis. It remains a critical issue as there is currently close to a 7
mm unit deficit with an additional 400,000 urban units shortfall being experienced annually. While various committees and
papers have been written on this issue, the implementation of these policies has yet to take place and with the growth rate
of our population the problem continues to grow.

The challenges are complex and require a public/private solution. Let us look at the issues from both the demand and the
supply side in order to create a comprehensive solution. From the demand or customer perspective the first issue is that of
affordability. Sixty per cent of families have monthly income between Rs2000 and 10,000 while an additional 15 per cent
have monthly income between Rs10, 000 and 25,000. If we take the families which have a monthly income of around
twenty thousand per month as an example (we can subsequently extrapolate the requirements for lower income families)
then it is safe to assume that they are paying rent equal to roughly one third of their income (Rs6,666). So our first
requirement is that the monthly mortgage payment should not exceed Rs6,666. This is important as loss norms of
seasoned portfolios indicate that if the monthly repayment is materially higher than the current rental a family pays then
there are higher chances of default down the line

The second requirement of the low-income families is that unlike the middle-income segment they cannot make instalment
payments to a developer for the purchase of a dwelling while continuing to pay the rent at the same time. So the proposed
solution must ensure that the mortgage payment only starts when the rental payment stops and the only cash outlay is the
down payment on the purchase. Research has indicated that families are usually able to meet up to 30 per cent of the
purchase price as a down payment requirement. The third requirement is that the monthly mortgage payment amount must
be fixed over the life, if not the bulk of the life of the loan. Low-income families cannot sustain interest rate fluctuations and
hence require a fixed rate loan.

In addition to the financial challenges, the housing project must have the basic amenities, like power, sewerage and water.
Transportation is a key requirement as most dwellers have their place of employment or business within the city. When we
analyze the supply side challenges it quickly becomes apparent as to why commercial banks or developers have not
addressed the needs of this segment.

For the commercial banks, or for that matter, any financial institution the first issue is of a clean title to the property. This is
essential as the loan must be secured and a mortgage created on the property. Unfortunately, as we move out of the more
affluent housing areas, determining and securing a mortgage becomes increasingly difficult. For commercial banks, given
the size of the loan, and the fact that the applicant is not a customer where multiple products can be sold the difficulty of
obtaining the mortgage becomes a non-viable activity. It is for this reason that the needs of this segment is currently only
addressed either by the House Building Finance Corporation or the National Bank of Pakistan. Hence, the quality of the title
and the ability to secure a mortgage is a must for low cost housing to take off. This can be achieved by establishing new
developments where the title for the parcel of land being developed is not in doubt.

The second challenge is that of devising a product that has monthly payments close to, if not equal to, the current rental
payments of the applicant. In our example we had assumed that the applicant could pay Rs6,666 per month. The size of
the loan an institution can approve will then principally be determined by the tenor or the life of the loan. If the loan tenor
were five years then the maximum loan on the property would be Rs268,222. Given that a 30 per cent down payment has
already been made, this would mean the apartment/house would be worth Rs383,174. This is a non-starter as even a 500
sq ft flat especially designed for the low-cost housing customers would as a minimum cost Rs590,000. Hence the loan
would have to at least have a duration of 15 years, which would allow the applicant to purchase a property up to
Rs620,000.

The third challenge a financial institution would face would be of providing a fifteen year fixed rate mortgage to its customer.
Pakistan's capital markets are very shallow and the only fixed rate instrument in the market is the Pakistan Investment
Bonds. To date there has been no private fixed rate bond of this tenor. The financial institution could also not be able to
swap a floating rate 15-year bond into a fixed rate one through an interest rate swap as again the local swap markets do
not go to this tenor.

While there are one- off solutions which one new entrant to the market has devised to overcome this issue, a market based
solution which would allow all participants to benefit would be the establishment of a mortgage refinance company by the
State Bank which would provide the necessary liquidity and tenor. The World Bank and the IFC have offered financial
support to set up this entity and it should be established on a priority basis.
The last financial challenge faced by the low-income customer is that of the dual payment. Developers typically finance
their developments through a combination of their own resources and instalment payments by the customers. The typical
developer shies away from this segment for two principal reasons: credit risk and volume. Firstly, the developer does not
want to take the credit risk of the applicant not paying the instalment on time. Tardy payments disrupt cash flow and delay
projects. Secondly, the developer is not sure of the volume of business that can be generated. Assuming that the profit
margins in this segment are below that of the middle or higher income, then scale becomes very important.

A potential solution to this problem is for the lending institution to approve the applicants to a scheme upfront. The lending
institution would then provide a guarantee to the developer that once the project is complete and the property is handed
over to the customer, the lending institution would disburse the loan. The developer in tandem with the lending institution
could then approach a commercial bank for a bridge loan. Once a take out is available for the commercial bank, and the
developer has a sound reputation an 18-24 month bridge could be obtained. In this manner the customer, would not be
required to make payments for both rent as well as instalment payments at the same time. Under this solution, the
developer would also not be required to fund the entire project from his own resources either.
(By Nadeem Hussain, The News-6, 10/07/2007)

                                                                 6
                                       Housing societies duck CDGK taxes
KARACHI: There are over 100 private residential societies in Shah Faisal Town, 64 from Union Council (UC) 7 (Al-Falah
Society) alone, which are not paying water, sewerage, property and other taxes. This issue has been raised before
Governor Ishratul Ebad Khan, Local Government Minister Muhammad Hussain and City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal, but
the government has not taken any measures yet.

SF Town Nazim Muhammad Imran told Daily Times Monday that UC7, one of the biggest UCs, is densely populated and
covers 12.7 square kilometres. UC7 starts at the Malir Bridge and ends at Shah Faisal Colony No.3 with a population of
around 486,109.

The town administration, in collaboration with the city government, had spent over Rs 40 million to develop the
infrastructure including new roads, better water and sewerage facilities, inner streets and parks, from funds reserved for
MPAs and MNAs.
―There are still some areas where residents are complaining of broken roads, a decrepit sewerage system and the
unavailability of civic facilities, but they are not paying a single penny to the government in taxes,‖ he said.

In Al-Falah Society‘s UC alone, builders have collected millions of rupees as development charges from different residential
private societies, but civic facilities remain absent. ―There are still a number of builders who have collected developmental
charges from residents, but they have not paid taxes to the government for legal water and sewerage connections,‖ he
said. ―We have asked the local government minister to arbitrate and bring all such private residential societies in the
taxation network.‖

The town nazim said that besides the residential societies located in UC7, there are dozens of old goths, where people
were deprived the basic civic amenities. ―One such example is Ghulam Muhammad Goth where a sewerage line was
recently laid at an estimated cost of Rs 2 million. The inhabitants living there since pre-Partition times were deprived,‖ he
mentioned. Work on Azeempura Road at an estimated cost of Rs 170 million has also started in the same UC with other
schemes.
(By Jamil Khan, Daily Times-B1, 10/07/2007)



                                   The cost of the Karachi Financial Towers
Successive governments of this country — province and city — have excelled at robbing the common man to benefit the
rich and powerful, the vested interests that run this state.
That is why, instead of law and order, today in Karachi we have flooded streets, electricity breakdowns, water shortages,
overflowing gutters, traffic jams, overwhelmed civic amenities and general urban chaos.

Ordinary citizens are deprived of their basic rights in order to line the pockets of a few. The ‗trickle-up‘ reality of economics
in Pakistan as opposed to the conventional ‗trickle-down‘ theory.

As an example, let us examine how an upcoming commercial high-rise project on the ‗Wall Street‘ of Karachi is being
orchestrated by one of the largest mercantile interests in the country, ―Milbus‖, to exploit the rapidly deteriorating
environment of the city and to add to the urban chaos.

First some background: the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) or Plot Ratio, as it is sometimes known, is a planning tool that defines
the allowable bulk (size) of a building.
For instance, a 1,000sqyd (9,000sqft) plot with an allowable FAR of 1: 3 could have a 3 x 9,000sqft = 27,000sqft building
constructed on it.

These allowable 27,000sqft could be distributed over five floors (5,400sqft per floor) or 10 floors (2,700sqft per floor) or 27
floors (1,000sqft per floor): all these buildings will be constructed to an FAR of 1: 3 on the 1,000sqyd plot.
The bulk of the building determines the size of the resident population and, consequently, the load imposed on the area
utilities and infrastructure.

The FAR defines the amount of electricity and water consumed, output of sewage and garbage, traffic and vehicles
generated and the amount of parks, playgrounds, schools, hospitals, and other civic amenities and facilities required.

Consequently, when an area development scheme (like KDA Scheme No 5, Kehkashan/Clifton or KDA Scheme No 24
Gulshan-e-Iqbal) is initially planned and notified, the citizens who buy plots on the scheme are aware of exactly what they
are acquiring: the locations and bulks (FARs) of various residential house plots, the flat sites, commercial areas,
parks/playgrounds, schools, hospitals and other amenity plots are defined precisely.

The KESC, SSGCL, KWSB, Traffic Engineering Bureau and other civic agencies have been part of the master-plan
process and will have catered to utility and infrastructure requirements of the planned population of the scheme.

Chaos starts when inept and corrupt bureaucrats and politicians assume the role of town planners and begin to arbitrarily
convert plots from one notified use to another (for example, parks plot to commercial high-rise), or allow arbitrary increases
in FAR, or legislate the ―commercialization of roads‖.
Such unplanned and not-provided-for increases in population in a well-laid out scheme starts a creeping deterioration in the
built environment. A street designed for 500 residents now houses 5,000.

Voltage fluctuations, water shortages, overflowing gutters, uncollected garbage, children playing cricket on the roads,
schools/hospitals/marriage gardens established in residential houses and other signs of urban decay emerge.

One such illegal land-use conversion, masterminded by a subsidiary of the Pakistan Army, National Logistics Cell (NLC), is
the carving out of a 12,950sqyd plot from the Pakistan Railways (PR) Marshalling Yard at City Station along I.I. Chundrigar
Road to construct twin towers, 43 stories high, that is, the Karachi Financial Towers. NLC‘s partner in the venture is Enshaa
Holdings of Dubai, worldwide experts on the exploitation of ecology.

                                                               7
The railway land originally belonged to the Sindh government and was given to the PR for a ―public purpose‖, railway
service: such land is amenity and cannot, under law, be used or leased for other non-conforming purposes. In order to
survive, the bankrupt and profligate PR has, over the past decade, been trying to auction off for commercial use, the so-
called ―surplus‖ land in the centre of cities all over the country, an act which has been strongly opposed in the past by the
Sindh government.

Such ‗commercializations‘ have been carried out without any town planning or without any regard to the availability of
utilities and infrastructure. Protests from environmental groups and adverse opinions in the press have been ignored by PR.

Furthermore, under the Karachi Building and Town Planning Regulations (KBTPR) 2002, many aspects of the project (sub-
division, land development, commercialization and deviation from a notified scheme) require a ‗special development permit‘
involving public notice and consideration of public comments/objections.

Additionally, in KBTPR, I.I. Chundrigar Road is a notified interim control area, ―to prevent haphazard and unplanned
development in areas lacking adequate water supply, sewerage, or drainage facilities; utilities; electricity, gas, telephone;
health educational or other municipal services or facilities and road networks and public transport.‖

Now that the premier professional bodies of construction professionals in the country (PCATP, IAP, PEC, etc) and even
that much-maligned builders‘ association (ABAD) have strongly spoken out against the arbitrary/ad hoc and
environmentally damaging increase in FAR, detailing cogent reasons and giving an elaborate analysis of the
consequences, what do you think has happened?

Chief Minister Arbab has used his ―discretionary powers‖ to allow the doubling of the size of a commercial building on an
amenity railway space that his Sindh government has, for many years, refused to permit the railway to lease.

Similar short-sighted measures have been promulgated over the years to facilitate many and have now become standard
practice. The built environment of Karachi is being decimated by arbitrary and unplanned increases of notified FARs by
government professionals and officials who should know better by a ―commercialization of roads‖ policy of a city council
that was desperate to generate funds and by a builders-inspired ―regularisation of illegal buildings‖ policy decreed by an
absolutely clueless governor.
(By Ronald deSouza, The News-20, 12/07/2007)



                          Moratorium on high-income residential projects likely
KARACHI, July 10: The city government and its associated land agencies may impose a moratorium on large residential
development projects for high-income groups, well-informed sources have told Dawn.
This step may be taken in light of the city government‘s Karachi Strategic Master Plan 2020 (KSMP), which estimates that
the projected demand in 2020 for high-income residential land – 20,000 acres, including circulation areas and associated
sub-division use – is entirely satisfied by the current supply.

In terms of the projected land demand for groups of low and middle income, the KSMP states: ―Almost half of the projected
demand for low and middle income residential land (80,000 acres) is satisfied by the projects in the pipelines (36,000
acres).‖Forecasting that the city needs to expand by only about one-third of the current built-up area of 267,000 acres, the
KSMP states that after taking into account the projects that are already in the pipelines, an estimated 90,000 acres of new
development are required by 2020.

With reference to the city‘s projected housing requirement, the KSMP states: ―With 1,60,000 households expected to be
absorbed through densification, the balance [of] 1,776,000 new households must be accommodated in new expansion
areas at the urban fringe.

According to Dawn‘s sources, the master plan divides 1.62 million new households in three 5-year phases between three
socio-economic groups, with relevant average plot sizes. Since some of the new expansion areas will include apartment
blocks or other forms of multi-unit housing, the calculations are reported as being liberal and the actual land required for
development over the period covered by the plan may have been over-estimated.
In the section entitled ‗Total Future Urban Land Requirements,‘ the required residential area is converted into new
residential / mixed use areas by taking into account proportional area requirements such as circulation areas,
neighbourhood commercial and institution areas, as well as open spaces. Regional commercial and industrial needs are
also included, which brings the new expansion areas to a required total of 145,000 acres.

The total area of the predominantly residential projects which have not yet been built up is approximately 107,000 hectares
(264,402 acres). Of this, 60,000 acres – 24,000 acres for high-income groups and 36,000 acres for low to medium income
groups – remain to be allocated to end users, say the KSMP 2020.

Referring to concerns of city growth and urbanisation, sources pointed out that the actual trend of densification in many
town municipal administrations is high because of the construction of additional floors in a large number of buildings.
Therefore, the wholesale re-development of key roads to facilitate higher density use remains a viable means of increasing
the intensity of development and limiting infrastructure development costs.

Projects in the pipelines
Sources report that there are 10 major residential land development projects in Karachi. The two Defence Housing
Authority (DHA) projects and the Port Qasim Authority (PQA) project are meant for high-income groups. The remaining
seven projects of the Malir Development Authority (MDA), the Lyari Development Authority (LDA) and the City District
Government of Karachi (CDGK) are meant for low to middle income groups.

MDA projects:
1) Taiser town: At ―construction‖ stage with 16,456 acres of unallocated land; 20,570 acres of land not built out, ie on which
houses have not been constructed, estimated to accommodate 265,503 additional households. (Gadap town)


                                                              8
2) Taiser (Extension) (notified): 4,000 acres of unallocated land and not built out, estimated to accommodate 64,537
additional households. (Gadap town)
3) Shah Latif town (developed): Entire scheme allocated but area not built up comes to 6,375 acres. (Bin Qasim town)
4) MDA scheme 1, Ghagar Pathak, New Malir scheme (notified and designed): 600 acres of unallocated land with 6,000
acres not built out and expected to accommodate 9,680 additional households. (Bin Qasim town)

LDA projects:
1) Halkani project (notified): 38,467 acres of unallocated land and not built out, estimated to accommodate 620,632
additional households. (Baldia town)
2) Hawkes Bay scheme (developed): 10,878 acres not built out. (Keamari town)

CDGK project:
1) Gulzar-e-Hijri scheme 33 (developed): 20,821 acres not built out area.

DHA projects:
1) DHA phase 9 (developed): 12,000 acres of unallocated land and 12,000 acres not built out, expected to accommodate
92,937 households. (Gadap town)
2) DHA phase 8 (sold): Not built out area comes to 4,180 acres. (Defence)

PQA project:
1) Bin Qasim Islands project (notified): 12,000 acres of unallocated land, 12,000 acres not built out and expected to
accommodate 72,000 additional households. (Bin Qasim town).
(By Azizullah Sharif, Dawn-17, 13/07/2007)



                                        Land dispute stalls work on park
KARACHI, July 12: Gulshan-i-Iqbal Town Nazim Mohammad Wasay Jalil and DS Railways Karachi Mir Mohammad
Khaskheli on Thursday discussed a joint operation against illegal encroachments along the railway line in the town.
The nazim told the DS railways that a park spread over 7,000sq feet was being constructed at Darwaish Colony along the
railway line at a cost of Rs1.164 million, adding that the railway officials had stopped construction work on the plea that the
land belonged to the Pakistan Railways and not to the city government.

Mr Jalil said the land would continue to belong to the railways even after the construction of the park. Mir Mohammad
Khaskheli assured the town nazim that he would talk to senior officers of his department regarding the issue.

PMT installed
Korangi Town Nazim Arif Khan inaugurated a newly installed PMT for Nasir Jump Water Pumping Station at UC6 Gulzar
Colony on Thursday.
The nazim said after the installation of the new PMT, the citizens of the area would get uninterrupted supply of water.

Fumigation drive
Orangi Town Nazim Abdul Haq launched a fumigation drive in the town by starting a spray machine. He said in order to
prevent the outbreak of epidemics, the fumigation drive would continue on a permanent basis.

Nullah cleaning
Jamshed Town Nazim Javed Ahmed along with TMO Afaq Saeed on Thursday inspected the cleaning of a rainwater nullah
at Manzoor Colony. The nazim directed the staff concerned to shift the debris taken out from the nullah to a landfill site, so
that citizens did not have to face any problems.

Uplift work
Malir Town Nazim Ansar Ahmed Sheikh on Thursday visited various town areas and inspected uplift work, cleanliness and
the sewerage system. The nazim also inspected CC flooring in UC 3 Noorani Masjid Nishtar Square, Saudabad and the
laying of sewerage lines in UC 7 Sahabdad Goth.

Ansar Sheikh directed the XEN Water Abrar Hussain and XEN Sewerage Abdul Ghaffar Shaikh to ensure early completion
of ongoing projects, besides increasing labour. He warned that payments of contractors who used substandard material in
uplift projects would be stopped.

Night sweeping
Landhi Town Nazim Asif Hasnain said night sweeping in the town was underway on a permanent basis to facilitate citizens.
(Dawn-18, 13/07/2007)



                                    Builder turns away SHC commissioner
KARACHI, July 13: A court-appointed commissioner was not allowed to enter an illegally-constructed seven-storeyed
building at Lyari, a division bench of the Sindh High Court was informed on Friday.

The commissioner, Advocate Mansoor Ahmad Khan, said in his report that he went to inspect the building on plot number
Ly 61-12, Lyari Quarters, on July 6 in compliance with the court‘s order. However, the builder locked the main gate in the
presence of a police party and he was not allowed to enter the premises.

The Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) moved an urgent application through Advocate Shahid Jamil Khan saying
that the builder had tampered with the seal affixed on the building to prevent further construction and creation of third party
interest. The KBCA lodged a criminal complaint with the town police officer of Lyari and station house office (SHO) of the
Baghdadi police station but no case was registered against the culprits. The KBCA said all its attempts to demolish the
building had been thwarted by the builder and illegal occupants and it could not fulfill its obligation under the law in the
absence of police assistance, which was being consistently denied.
                                                              9
Additional Advocate-General Abbas Ali undertook to arrange police assistance. The bench, which consisted of Justices
Mohammad Afzal Soomro and Gulzar Ahmed, noted the assurance and adjourned further hearing till July 25. The builder‘s
counsel, K.A. Wahab, was busy elsewhere.

Sukkur Township
Another division bench comprising Justices Mohammad Moosa K. Leghari and Khilji Arif Hussain issued notices to the
provincial board of revenue and other respondents for July 24 in a petition moved by M/s Arif Builders and Developers, who
said they were constructing ‗Sukkur Township‘ project at Sukkur in collaboration with M/s Indus Builders and Developers,
who purchased 177 acres of land from private owners from 1991 to 2005.

The petitioner submitted through Advocate Rasheed A. Razvi that 3,005 bungalows and 297 flats had already been built
and about 90 per cent of them had been booked. The land revenue authorities, however, belatedly took suo motu notice
under Section-164 of the Land Revenue Act, 1967, and stayed the construction work.

According to the revenue authorities, the project land was situated within municipal limits and its ownership could not be
transferred in perpetuity.

Advocate Razvi said that the land was freehold property and at worst only 32 acres of the 177 acres could be disputed. The
revenue authorities, however, tried to stop the entire project and threatened to demolish all construction. They issued no
notice to the petitioner. The notice under Section-164 of the 1967 Act was issued on the very day when the high court had
allowed a petition by M/s Indus Builders.

Gas station stayed
The bench, meanwhile, stayed the construction of a CNG station on plot number D-186, Block 4, Federal B. Area, till July
26, when a petition moved by a next door resident would come up for hearing. Petitioner Asad Iqbal Butt said that a CNG
station was being installed in his immediate neighbourhood without inviting public objections. Appearing for the petitioner,
Advocates Farhatullah and Haider Imam Rizvi said that a gas pump could not be allowed in a purely residential area.

Notices in the petition were issued to the federal petroleum ministry, the city government, the Karachi Building Control
Authority (KBCA) and other respondents for July 26.
(Dawn-17, 14/07/2007)



                                  SHC stays CNG station in residential block
A division bench of the Sindh High Court stayed on Friday, the construction and installation of a gas pump and station in a
residential block of Federal B Area.

Asad Iqbal Butt, the Council Member of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, resident of bungalow D-185 in Block-4,
Federal B Area, on Friday submitted a petition through advocates Haider Imam and Farhat Ullah that a compressed natural
gas (CNG) station was being set up on a plot (D-186) adjacent to his residence.

The petitioner said that the pump would cause health and environmental hazards more so because the plot is also adjacent
to a private school as well.

A division bench comprising Justice Muhammad Moosa K. Laghari and Justice Khiljee Arif Hussain restrained the owner of
the plot from allowing all construction activities and the installation of any gas plant. Three different benches have stayed
the setting up of gas stations in residential areas in North Nazimabad, PECHS and Gulistan-e-Jauhar during the last two
months.
(The News-19, 14/07/2007)



                                         Real estate index to track prices
REAL estate development is one of the most important components of an economy, but in India it has always been
neglected. Worse, the industry had in the past been associated with shady operators, who were well-versed in the art of
greasing palms, but delivered shoddy products that left consumers unhappy.

But as in many other areas of economic activity, there has been a remarkable change in the Indian real estate sector. Last
week saw two major developments that will have a lasting impact on the industry. The National Housing Bank (NHB), the
housing finance sector regulator – and a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India, the country‘s central bank – launched a
house price index.

The other major development was the emergence of realty stocks as a group as a powerful component of the stock
markets – accounting for over four per cent of the market capitalisation of the Bombay Stock Exchange – following the
listing of shares of DLF Ltd, the country‘s largest real estate firm, which had raised a whopping $2.3 billion through an initial
public offering (IPO) last month.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram launched the Residex, an index which will initially track the movement of real estate
prices in five cities: Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and Bhopal. ―We need a real estate national index as it will help in
the flow of capital,‖ pointed out Chidambaram.

According to S. Sridhar, chairman, NHB, the index would be extended to cover 35 cities – with a population of over a million
each – in due course. Ultimately, it would cover 63 Indian cities, and an all-India index would be established. NHB also has
plans to set up separate indices for rentals, land prices, and affordability.

The base year for the Residex is 2001, the same as for the Wholesale Price-based Index and the Consumer Price Index.
According to the NHB, the price of properties in all five cities has more than doubled over the past six years; in Bangalore,
an IT hotspot, prices have nearly tripled since 2001.
                                                              10
The Residex assigns weights to a dozen parameters – including the location, quality of construction, amenities and
infrastructure – to calculate the average price of a residential property in the five cities. It will be revised every six months.
The index will emerge as a useful new tool to compile economic data.

Despite the boom in the real estate sector, there has been no tracking of prices and other data in India. State governments
impose hefty stamp duties on real estate transactions, but have scant data to indicate growth of the sector.

The government of India opened up the real estate sector to foreign direct investment (FDI) just a few years ago. Billions of
dollars have poured into the sector, as mutual funds, private equity funds, pension funds and other financiers from the US,
Europe, the Middle East, South East Asia and the Far East have been pouring money into the sector.
This year, analysts expect over $3 billion to flow into the property market. Real estate giants such as DLF have been
raising billions of dollars through IPOs and follow-on public offers.

And the investing public has responded overwhelmingly to these issues. The real estate sector has driven the IPO market,
and accounts for the largest amount of money raised over the past 18 months.

According to analysts, almost a fourth of the funds raised through IPOs have been by real estate companies. After listing,
real estate stocks have soared by an average of over 70 per cent, as against a modest 22 per cent overall gain for all post-
IPO stocks.

Before the reforms, real estate developers had to depend on unreliable sources for funding. Besides their own internal
accruals, they would seek finance from investors, who would pitch in with 10 to 20 per cent of the cost of an apartment.
While the big, professional developers accessed funds from clean sources, many of the smalltime players were forced to
borrow money — at extortionate rates — from shady operators, including the underworld.

Consequently, most real estate transactions in India comprised two forms of payments: white and black. There was a time
when 60 to 80 per cent of the payment would have to be in black – or cash, and unaccounted funds – and thousands of
middle-class consumers and salary-earners, who had no access to such funds were deprived of a house.

Professional investors or speculators, who paid a part of the cost of a residential or commercial unit, stood to make
handsome profits on selling off their minority stake in a unit within months of booking it. But this unhealthy practice led to
prices expanding by 10 to 20 per cent a month, and with an acute shortage of new units, it played havoc with the market.

And because of the ‗speculative‘ nature of the business, banks were reluctant to advance funds to developers. The opening
up of the sector resulted in an abundant inflow of funds, and the virtual demise of the black money system.
The listing of the DLF scrip on the stock markets has resulted in an upheaval in the list of richest Indians, and in market
capitalisation rankings. Kushal Pal Singh, the promoter and chairman of DLF, and his family members – who still have an
over 80 per cent stake in the company – have now emerged among the richest people, not just in India, but even in the
world.

The net worth of Singh and his family members has jumped to over $20 billion, catapulting them to the third richest
business family in India – after Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani, the two quarrelling brothers, who split up the Reliance
empire two years ago.

The DLF scrip‘s market capitalisation also crossed the Rs1 trillion-mark, making it among the 10 most valuable companies
in India, ahead of established manufacturing groups, and even government-owned giants.
Importantly, real estate stocks as a group have also emerged as a powerful new category, which could influence the
benchmark indices on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange. At present, none of the real estate
companies are listed in the benchmark indices, but analysts expect DLF to move in over the next few weeks.

Following the successful listing of DLF, real estate sector stocks have now come to play a major role in the Indian stock
markets. They add up to four to five per cent of the market cap, as against a little over 2.5 per cent in China, two per cent in
Brazil and less than one per cent in Russia.

Of course, the share of real estate stocks in total market capitalisation is much higher in other Asian countries: about 12 per
cent in Singapore, over 10 per cent in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and 6.5 per cent in Thailand.

But the doubling of the value of real estate stocks in India is expected to send the right signals to dozens of other foreign
investors, including pension funds, who are waiting to enter the market.

Importantly, they will bring about much-needed transparency in the realty sector, and also encourage other companies to
tap the IPO market for funds. Market sources point out that half a dozen other major real estate IPOs have been lined up,
and by the year‘s end they could raise another Rs15 billion from the market, further boosting the share of realty firms in the
stock markets.
(By Anand Kumar, Dawn-Economic & Business Review, Page-V, 16/07/2007)



                               Khuda ki Basti: a sign of hope for the homeless
True to the famous Chinese proverb, a thousand-mile journey begins with a single step and Khuda ki Basti is testament to
that. A unique initiative for shelter-less and low-income people, it shows that every idea, which seems impossible in the
beginning, can be achieved with dedication and clear vision.
The housing project of Khuda Ki Basti, which covers 100 acres, was conceived by former Director General of Sindh, Katchi
Abadis Authority (SKAA), Tasneem Siddiqui. This project is a joint venture of Malir Development Authority (MDA) and the
NGO Saiban.

During the first phase of the project, which started in 1999 and was completed in 2002, 60 acres of land were allotted for
the construction of 1,754 housing units. Later on, during the second phase, 40 acres more were allocated for the
construction of 1,113 extra units. The second phase of the project has also long been completed.

                                                               11
The price of one plot, which measures 80 square yards, was fixed at Rs37,000, the money for which could have been
acquired on easy installments after a down payment of Rs8,000. However, there were some conditions to be met if one
wanted to get a plot in the project. For instance, to be eligible, one ought to be a Pakistani national, after being allotted a
plot in the locality, one had to stay in the guest room of Saiban with one‘s family, the house was to be constructed within
the time frame of one month at the allotted plot, and after one month, the allottee was required to shift in his newly-
constructed home with his family. The construction of the house and the style of construction were, however, left to the
convenience and resources of the applicant of the plot. The planners fixed Rs300 per month, in terms of the installment for
each allottee.

Khuda ki Basti is part of Union Council 5 of Gadap Town, near Surjani Town. The Basti has many ethnic and religious
communities living side by side. A mosque, imambargah and a church are constructed in the Basti to cater to the needs of
different communities. The Basti has three secondary schools, a few primary schools, and a technical college. The
developmental projects such as the provision of electricity, laying of sewerage lines, etc., materialise through the resources,
which are paid for by the residents.

No allottee can transfer his plot to anyone else. He has to live in his home with his family and cannot rent it out.

Each and every street of Khuda ki Basti is 24-ft wide. Normally in localities such as the Khuda ki Basti, streets do not
measure more than 10 to 15 feet. In the beginning of the project, the residents had no electricity but now, the entire area
has power. However, presently, the residents rely on water tankers due to the absence of water connections provided for
the area. The Basti has a basic health union as well.
The project for homeless people is a symbol of guidance for those who want to do something for humanity but get
discouraged when they look at the number of problems inflicting poor people.
(By Qadeer Tanoli, The News-19, 16/07/2007)



                          88,698 homeless as flood inundates 187 Dadu villages
HYDERABAD: The administration of the floodwater affected Dadu district on Wednesday admitted that the flood has
inundated 187 villages of the district so far, displacing 88,693 people homeless.

DCO Dadu‘s Flood Coordination Cell Incharge Mushtaq Ahmed Ansari said 16,588 flood affected people have been
provided shelter in relief camps established by the government, while 26,088 packets, including flour, rice, sugar, tea,
Ghee/oil, etc have also been distributed. In all 1,500 tents and 3,000 water coolers have also been provided by the prime
minister, Sindh chief minister, district Nazim, Pakistan Army and NGOs, he said.
He said 555 Degs of cooked food/rice have also been given to the displaced people. It was also stated that 5,913 houses
were partially damaged while 5,404 completely destroyed.

Also, 37 cases of snake-bite and 10,898 cases of different diseases have been treated at the medical camps established
by the EDO (Health) and around 42,000 animals have also been treated for various diseases.

The Incharge Army medical teams/units Maj Dr Sharafuddin said the medical teams have treated around 5,519 patients for
different diseases at the medical camps in the flood affected areas of Mehar and Khairpur Nathan Shah which includes
villages Garhi, Saeedpur, Qaim Jatoi, Khan-Jo-Goth, Aalliwal, Faridabad, Andhi Miani, Lal Bux Wadha, Allano Khoso,
Gozo, Mado, Bug Burira, and Qubo Qalandar.

Maj Sharaf said the cases treated are fever, ARI, skin diseases, malaria, weakness, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, and some
cases of hepatitis. He said the patients are being provided medicines.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to Sindh Chief Minister Murtaza Memon on Wednesday visited the flood affected areas of
Khairpur Nathan Shah, Dadu district, to distribute ration packets, containing food items and other relief goods like water
coolers among the flood-affected people.
Addressing the flood-affected people, he said his party leader Altaf Hussain has sent him with relief packets and a
message that every worker of the MQM is with the affected people in these difficult times.
(By Adeel Pathan, The News-4, 19/07/2007)



                          City Council approves re-classification of Clifton plots
Despite protests from the opposition benches, the City Council on Wednesday in its session approved the re-classification
of some residential plots in Clifton and allowed an applicant to construct apartments on ground-plus-four floors basis on
these plots. The plot numbers disclosed in the meeting were D-106, 108, 111 and 114, which would be combined for the
said project.

In all, on Wednesday, the City Council approved four resolutions and rejected others tabled by opposition benches. The
opposition members staged a token walkout on two different occasions to lodge their protest during the session. The
proceedings were later adjourned by the session convener, City Naib Nazima Nasreen Jalil till July 30.
The opposition benches did not favour the resolution to re-classify residential plots and demanded the constituting of a
technical committee to sort out the issue. However, the treasury benches rejected the proposal, saying that there was no
need for such a committee as an independent committee headed by Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) had already
given the green signal to this effect.

Presenting the resolution, Syed Absar-ul-Hasan told the House that the owner intended to raise eight or nine storeys on the
said plot, adding, but that would be an injustice with others so he was allowed to construct only four floors.
He said that KBCA could refuse the recommendation if it thought that it was against the rules. The apartment could not be
used for commercial purposes and the builder could not construct more than the approved storeys, he added.

Asif Siddiqui from the treasury benches said that the CDGK would be collecting billions of rupees in revenue from the
project since the owner was willing to convert the project into a flat-site.
                                                              12
Opposition member Abdul Razzak said that the DDO or EDO Land should be called for a proper explanation on the issue
prior to any approvals being given. He said that such approvals would make way for others to convert their plots, which
might result in further corruption and civic chaos.

Another opposition member Rasheed Baig said that KBCA has specific laws regarding land and its use. The taxes charged
by the KBCA depend upon the location of the plot and change of plot category, he added.
The opposition members queried as to why a person had been allowed to construct more than ground-plus-two floors. The
treasury members, however, said that they were not violating any rules and the matter that was pending for long, had been
taken up for consultation in the House.

Earlier, the House rejected an opposition resolution wherein they alleged that the recent incident in Islamabad was the
result of bad government policies and regime‘s incompetence towards serving national interest. The opposition also
submitted an amended resolution but that too was not accepted by the House.

However, the House approved a treasury resolution to condemn the bomb explosion in the federal capital. The treasury
benches also condemned the attack on Army convoy in Miran Shah, saying that these attacks were against the solitary of
the state and a conspiracy against the innocent people of the country.

The treasury and opposition benches also presented separate condolence resolutions on the demise of Zeeshan Naz s/o
Yousuf Naz, Nazim Union Council-1, Saddar. He was killed in a road accident at ICI Bridge.
Besides, the House observed a minute‘s silence to mourn the death of Samuel Benjamin, a local press photographer.
(By M Zeeshan Azmat, The News-14, 19/07/2007)



                               City approves change of Clifton plots for plaza
KARACHI: The City Council has approved a controversial plan to build a five-floor residential plaza on amalgamated
residential plots in Clifton owned by a private party with an increase in the construction ratio and re-classification of some of
the plots. The Opposition alleged that corruption was involved in granting such a generous concession to one individual.

The department of the Master Plan group of offices presented a memorandum No. MPGO/DO (H)/06/2007/F on an
increase in the plot ratio and re-classification for plots Nos. D-106, D-108, D-111 and D-114, block 4, scheme 5, Clifton.
The memorandum came in the shape of a resolution to be approved by the House. According to the resolution, these are
the 13 different residential plots or pieces of land with a total area of 11,157 square yards that have been amalgamated into
one piece and have been given only four numbers.
―On two sides of this piece of land there are ground-plus-three and ground-plus-five commercial buildings and flats while on
the other side there is Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim and the Russian consulate,‖ said the resolution.

A high-level committee approved by the city nazim reviewed the area plan and in a May 29 meeting declared that there was
not a single house on the plot. Thus, the construction of houses was not feasible in the area, so the land should be re-
classified and amalgamated into residential flats, the resolution said.

The resolution further argued that according to Section 40 of SLGO 2001 the city district government has the authority to
regulate land use, classify and re-classify land in the city. ―The city nazim has already approved the scheme and has
directed that it be presented before the House for final approval,‖ the resolution said.

Opposition parties protested the resolution by arguing that it was in clear violations of land laws. ―These plots were given
only for the construction of houses and the land cannot be used for a multi-story plaza,‖ said Opposition member Jumman
Darwan. He argued that land laws clearly state that residential plots could not be amalgamated into plots for residential
multistory plazas. ―There is no guarantee that the proposed plaza would be used only for residential purposes and there is
the possibility that in the future such a mega project would be used for commercial purposes,‖ he said.

Opposition member Rukhsana Faisal Baloch argued that the House could not approve such a ―vague‖ plan and before any
such thing should happen the minutes of the meeting be presented before the House.

The Opposition members also objected to the committee behind the resolution. ―There is already a committee in the House
with Opposition members but despite its presence the city nazim used bureaucrats to acquire easy approval,‖ Rukhsana
told Daily Times after the session.

Others were afraid this would set a bad precedent in the city. ―If these flats were given for commercial purposes, it would
open up a Pandora‘s box,‖ commented Opposition member Rafiq Ahmed.

Meanwhile, members of the PPP-supported Awam Dost panel protested against the recent Islamabad bomb blast and tried
to condemn the carnage but the convenor did not allow them to talk on the issue. They walked out of the session for five
minutes in a token protest, but returned.
The session was adjourned till July 30.
(Daily Times-B1, 19/07/2007)



                           New Sabzi Mandi market committee’s records seized
Anti-corruption Establishment (ACE) has seized some allotment records of the market committee of New Sabzi Mandi, say
reliable sources, on corruption charges.
It was learnt that Administrator Market Committee,e Ghulam Nabi Chakrani was also detained for hours by the Anti-
corruption Establishment Thursday last. However, the supporters of the administrator claimed that nothing like that had
happened and he was only summoned for recording his statement on some legal issues.

On the other hand it was learnt that he was allegedly involved in corrupt practices with regard to making allotments in the
Mandi‘s parking areas.
                                                              13
Traders at the market had been charging the authorities concerned for making illegal allotments in the new fruit and
vegetable market. There have also been some cases of duplication in the allotments.
It was learnt that a plot sanctioned for installing weighing scale (Kanta) at the new Mandi has been allotted for other
purposes, which would render the already purchased weighing scale equipment useless.

Moreover, the plot meant for fire station, measuring 4,800 square yards, has also been allotted and 27 shops have been
constructed over there. It has transpired that around 6,500 shops have been set up in the new Sabzi Mandi as against
4,135 shops that were originally carved out in the KBCA‘s layout plan. Due to illegal allotments the main entrance to the
market has been narrowed down considerably.

Traders complained that the new Sabzi Mandi project has been planned for 99 years but the emerging problems have
already started affecting them, owing to corrupt practices of the Mandi administration. They said that instead of providing
some facilities at the present market the government has announced to establish some more markets in the city.

The traders have demanded that the new Sabzi Mandi management should be handed over to City District Government
Karachi (CDGK) under Section 14 of Local Government Ordinance-2001, Part-II.
They also appealed to City Nazim to take notice of the affairs of the market and intervene in the situation.
(By Qadeer Tanoli, The News-14, 23/07/2007)



                                     Parking plaza behind Empress Market
                                  1,720 shopkeepers to get alternative space
KARACHI, July 26: As many as 1,720 shopkeepers of Khwaja Shahabuddin and Umer Farooq markets situated behind
Empress Market in Saddar will be moved to temporary sites at Lines Area.
The decision has been taken to facilitate the work on the city government‘s proposed commercial parking plaza behind
Empress Market. After the completion of the project, these shopkeepers will be allotted space in the same area, it is learnt.

The city nazim, Syed Mustafa Kamal, had taken the decision for the construction of the modern parking plaza keeping in
view the traffic congestion around the Empress Market.

According to sources in the city government, the process of shifting of tenants will begin in the first week of August. In the
first phase, out of 1,720 shops, 679 tenants will be shifted to temporary sites at Lines Area and the remaining tenants will
be shifted in the second phase.
These shopkeepers would be provided necessary basic facilities at the temporary site where work was in progress and
likely to be completed by the first week of August, it was added.

Earlier, the officials of the city government, Saddar Town and the representatives of the tenants held several meetings to
discuss the shifting process and availability of facilities to be provided to the shopkeepers at the parking plaza site and
other issues.

It was decided that necessary utilities and facilities would be provided to those affected by the project in question, keeping
in view the environmental situation at the commercial parking plaza and at temporary site at the Lines Area and all the
shopkeepers would be accommodated according to the actual/allocated sizes of shops in the lower part of the proposed
commercial parking plaza.

However, the construction cost would be recovered from them as was already decided and all the process of allocations at
the temporary site and as well as in the commercial parking plaza would be done through balloting.

All necessary arrangements regarding the issuance of intimation letters, shifting slips and size of the alternative sites would
be completed by the end of July. Before shifting to temporary sites, the shopkeepers would be required to pay all the
outstanding dues of the city government, added the CDGK sources.
(Dawn-18, 27/07/2007)



                                ‘More low-cost housing schemes next month’
KARACHI, July 27: The government will announce new low-cost housing schemes in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore,
Peshawar and Quetta next month.
This was stated by Federal Minister for Ports, Shipping, Housing and Works Babar Khan Ghouri while addressing a press
conference at the head office of the Public Works Department (PWD) South Zone here on Friday. PWD Director-General
Ali Akbar Shaikh was also present on the occasion.

Ghouri said these plots and flats would be provided to the low-income group on a no-profit no-loss basis.
He pointed out that these schemes had been initiated on the instructions of President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister
Shaukat Aziz, as the country was facing a shortage of 2.5 million housing units.

The minister said the prime minister would hand over the allotment letters of the low-cost flats to the people in the first week
of August in Karachi and added that 37,000 flats were being constructed under this programme.
He said the prime minister would perform the ground-breaking of a new secretariat with modern facilities in Islamabad on
August 3.

No more ‘barracks culture’
The minister said that old barracks and government offices would be demolished in Karachi and new high-rise buildings
would be constructed to provide a new working environment to government employees.
―We want to change this barracks culture and provide a world-class working environment to government employees to
improve their efficiency,‖ he said.


                                                              14
Answering a question, Mr Ghouri said the house rent of government employees was being raised to a reasonable level so
that they could afford better accommodations.
He said the federal government had sought suitable land from the Sindh government at reasonable prices for providing low-
cost plots to federal government employees.
He said currently 28,000 applications for housing were pending with the housing ministry.

―They will be provided land at a low cost and the House Building Finance Corporation will be asked to provide them money
for the construction of houses,‖ he added.

Mr Ghouri said the government was also considering allotting quarters to government employees on an ownership basis at
Pakistan Quarters and Martin Quarters.
Earlier, presiding over a meeting of the PWD, he asked the engineers to complete all the projects according to government
standards and warned that negligent and corrupt officials will be relieved of duty.
(Dawn-19, 28/07/2007)



                              Alleged land grabber doesn’t want name on ECL
KARACHI: A constitutional petition filed by alleged land grabber Haji Adam Jhokio against placing his name on the ECL
(Exit Control List) was adjourned by the Sindh High Court Friday.

A division bench comprising Justice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Nadeem Azhar Siddiqui adjourned the matter for August
15. The petitioner was booked by name on charges of forgery and making 30 acres of land into 330 acres.
When the petition came up for hearing, Muhammad Ashraf Kazi, counsel for the petitioner, submitted that his client‘s basic
human rights were being infringed upon by the order of the government.

Akhtar Rehana advocate, counsel for NAB (National Accountability Bureau), informed the bench that the Prosecution has
examined eleven prosecution witnesses. She also contended that all the case laws and citations advanced by the counsel
for the petitioner had one thing in common - that the accused in these cases including Salman Farooqui, Wajid Shamsul
Hasan, Syed Ghous Ali Shah, Benazir Bhutto, Asif Ali Zardari - never returned once they were allowed to go abroad.
The court inquired about the total number of PWs so that the stage of the trial is determined.
(Daily Times-B1, 28/07/2007)



                                 Fire breaks out in Chundrigar Road building
A major fire erupted in a multi-storey office building on I.I. Chundrigar Road, which was brought under control after an
operation that lasted about seven hours by 17 fire tenders during which two firemen reportedly fell unconscious.

According to the Fire Brigade, following receipt of a complaint at about 09:20 hours that a huge fire had engulfed the
Business and Finance Centre situated opposite State Bank of Pakistan, three fire tenders were rushed to the scene.
Realising the gravity of the situation, 14 more fire tenders were despatched to the spot. However, owing to the closure of I.I.
Chundrigar Road, the fire tenders faced difficulties in reaching the scene.

The fire was said to have broken out in the office of a security Company located on the fifth floor (room No 504) of the
building. During the operation, two firemen, Wasi Tariq and Mohammed Shahid, fell unconscious owing to the thick plumes
of smoke.

Fellow firefighters rescued them using a crane, after which they were shifted to the Civil Hospital where their condition was
reported to be stable.

Town Nazim Sadar visited the spot just after the incident. Seventeen fire tenders of CDGK and two snorkels took part in the
operation.
It was early afternoon when all the shops and offices were open for business and a thick layer of black smoke could be
seen from far away places. The cause of the fire was stated to be electric short circuiting. The fire that broke out at the
security company‘s office on the fifth floor of the 10-storey building soon engulfed other offices, including the office of an
insurance firm, situated next to the security office, reducing goods worth millions of rupees to ashes.

The security office was completely burnt and its goods were not insured while the insurance office was reportedly saved
from heavy damages.

A KESC team also rushed to the scene and disconnected the power supply. The firemen said that some walls inside the
building had to be demolished to pave way to other shops to contain the blaze.

Police and other law-enforcement agencies personnel cordoned off the area and Edhi ambulances were also present on
the spot.
Later, owner of the security company lodged a case with Mithadar police, stating electric short circuiting as the cause of the
fire and extent of damages to be informed later on.
(By Salis bin Perwaiz, The News-13, 29/07/2007)



                               Half of city’s population lives in Katchi Abadis
Housing has emerged as one of the most serious problems for the urban poor and middle classes and today even those
with a monthly income of Rs20 to 25 thousand could not think of owning a flat or a plot to construct their houses, said
Tasneem Ahmad Siddique, founder of Khuda Ki Basti, a programme for providing housing to the poor.
He was speaking at the weekly lecture programme of the Pakistan Peoples Party at the Peoples Secretariat on Sunday.
The programme was on the topic of the emergence of Katchi Abadis and solution to people‘s housing problems.

                                                             15
Siddiqui said that during the last seven to eight years the gap between the nation‘s rich and poor had grown enormously
and now one can see thousands of people sleeping in open spaces or living in subhuman conditions in the ever growing
slums of the city.
He pointed out that 50 per cent of the city‘s population - i.e. more than 7.5 million people - lived in Katchi Abadis.

Tracing the history of the creation of Katchi Abadis Siddique said that the phenomena had now grown into an organised
land invasion by the land grabbers, who worked in partnership with the police, the patwaris and the local councilors. More
than 1,000 acres of government land around the settled acres was occupied every year by this partnership. The
government had abandoned its duty of developing housing schemes for low income groups under the pressures of the
World Bank, who had set such rules and procedures that had increased the prices of land. The result was that all housing
schemes like Surjani, Gulzar-e-Hijri, Shah Latif Town, etc, were a failure.

On the other hand, informal housing in Katchi Abadis, although illegal, was growing by 9 to 10 per cent yearly. Abadis like
the most backward and subhuman Machar Colony were spreading overnight and even reclaiming land from the sea. While
the cooperative sectors were hardly functioning, unfortunately, it was the informal sector which was looking after the
housing needs of the low income groups. The need of the hour was that the public sector should look at the methods
employed by the informal sector, eliminate the corruption element and provide land to low-income families at affordable
prices, legally.

Agreeing with the argument of the program organisers that all people had equal rights on land and Pakistan People Party
shall provide a ―plot for every family.‖ he cautioned that housing was not plots alone and the party should work on a
comprehensive package of education, health, family planning, recreation and micro-credit facilities in the new localities it
proposes to develop for low-income groups.

Zahid Farooq, Programme Director of the ―Urban Resource Center‖ in his presidential remarks severely criticised the
government for playing into the hands of the land mafia. They are bulldozing old settled localities of the poor for creating
spaces for commercial plazas, he said.
(The News-14, 30/07/2007)



                           Katchi Abadis: Why they crop up? What is the solution?
                                  7.5m people live in city’s slums: expert
KARACHI: Half of Karachi‘s population - more than 7.5 million people - live in katchi abadis, said Ahmed Tasneem Siddiqui,
a known bureaucrat who is considered an expert on slums.
―Those who live there are from the skilled and unskilled working classes, including clerks, teachers, industrial workers,
small workshop owners, air hostesses, domestic workers and sanitary workers,‖ Siddiqui said during the PPP‘s weekly
lecture programme held at the Peoples‘ Secretariat on the topic: ‗Katchi Abadis: Why they crop up? What is the solution?‘

Zahid Farooq, programme director of the urban resource centre, presided over the programme.

Siddiqui, who was the chief of the Sindh Katchi Abadis Authority and who introduced the idea of ―Khuda Ki Basti‖ for the
financially challenged, said that it was their hard work and back-breaking labour that this mega city survives on.
―These people were never a burden on the State. Nothing came free for them. Those who were able to purchase land and
build houses did so using their own resources. Every third house in old katchi abadis was a workshop where entire families
worked and contributed immensely to national production,‖ he said.

He questioned how those with monthly incomes of Rs 5,000, and an average family size of 6.5 people, could even afford a
rented room when almost 70 percent of their income was being spent on two basic items for survival - food and clothing.
He said that housing has become a serious problem for the urban poor and middle classes and today, even those with
monthly incomes of Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 cannot even think of owning a flat or a plot of land to construct their house on.

Siddiqui said that during the last seven to eight years, the gap between the nation‘s rich and the poor has grown
enormously. Now one sees thousands of people sleeping in open spaces or living in subhuman conditions, he added.
He noted that the locality where a family lived determined the level of its social conditions, income, and human rights. He
said that a difference could easily be seen in the generations. Every generation of those living in posh areas was taller and
healthier than the previous one, while in katchi abadis, every succeeding generation, especially the females, were shorter
and weaker than their parents.

The reasons for this, he said, were malnutrition, high incidence of disease, congestion, lack of fresh air and recreation and
lack of sound sleep, etc...
He narrated the history of the creation of katchi abadis that he said started immediately after Pakistan‘s independence
because of the influx of refugees and the import of cheap migrant labour for developing industrial sectors. And then later
due to the break-up of the country, he added.

―The phenomenon has now grown into an organised land invasion by land grabbers, who work in partnership with the
police, the patwaris and local councillors. More than 1,000 acres of government land, around settled acres, is occupied
every year by this partnership and is sold to those who have no place to live,‖ he said.

Siddiqui added that the government abandoned its duty of developing housing schemes for low income groups under the
pressure of the World Bank, which set down rules and procedures that caused prices of land to soar.

The development programme, as dictated by the World Bank, delayed construction by 15 to 20 years because poor people
could never meet the conditions for the schemes. The result was that all the housing schemes, such as Surjani, Gulzar
Hijri, Shah Latif Town etc, were a failure. ―Hardly 10 to 20 percent of the plots in these schemes see construction and it
takes more than 20 years to construct houses on the plots,‖ he said.

Informal and illegal housing in katchi abadis was growing by nine to ten percent yearly. Abadis such as Machar Colony
were spreading overnight and even reclaiming land from the sea.

                                                            16
―The private sector only develops housing for the rich and the public sector and the cooperative sector hardly function.
Unfortunately it is the informal sector that is looking after the housing needs of low income groups,‖ he said.

Siddiqui stressed that the need of the hour was that the public sector look at the methods employed by the informal sector,
eliminate corruption and provide land to low-income families at affordable prices legally.

Agreeing with the argument of the programme organisers - that all people have equal rights on land and the PPP shall
provide a ‗plot for every family‘ - he cautioned that housing was not just about plots and the party should work on a
comprehensive package for educational, health, recreation and micro-credit facilities in the new localities it proposes to
develop for low-income groups.

Zahid Farooq, in his presidential remarks, severely criticised the government for playing into the lands of the land mafia. He
said that the land mafia was bulldozing old settled localities of the poor in order to create spaces for commercial plazas. He
urged the civil society, and most importantly the residents of these localities, to show resistance even if they have to face
the might of the so-called law enforcing agencies.
(Daily Times-B1, 30/07/2007)



                             Housing a serious problem in urban areas: expert
KARACHI, July 29: Today, a family earning even Rs20,000-Rs25,000 a month cannot think of owning a house. This was
observed by Tasneem Ahmad Siddiqui, known social scientist, in his lecture on weekly lecture on ―Katchi Abadis: Why they
crop up? What is the solution?‖

The event, presided over by Programme Director of the Urban Resource Center Zahid Farooq, was the latest of a series of
lectures organised by the Pakistan People‘s Party at the People‘s Secretariat on different topics.

Mr Siddiqui, the architect of the ―Khuda Ki Basti‖, a welfare programme aimed at providing low-cost housing units to the
poor, said that housing has emerged the most pressing problem being faced by the lower and middle class people in urban
areas.

How could the people with a monthly income of 5,000 afford even a rental residence after spending 70 per cent of the
amount on the most essential requirement, food and clothing? he questioned. He noted the widening gap between the rich
and poor over the past seven/eight years, and pointed out that thousands of people were living in subhuman conditions in
slums.

He also referred to an interesting aspect of evolution by saying that every generation of those having a resident in some
posh locality grew taller and healthier than the previous one, while the successive generations of those living in katchi
abadis registered a downward trend vis-à-vis health and height of their individuals.
―The reasons are malnutrition, health hazards, poor living conditions, lack of a sound sleep, etc.,‖ he said.
He pointed out that 50 per cent of the city‘s population lived in Katchi abadis and belonged to the skilled or unskilled
working classes.

He said these people had never been a burden on the state. Nothing came cost-free for them. They would buy and build
their houses on their own and pay of the scarce utility tariffs at a much higher rates. Tracing the history of katchi abadis, he
said the phenomenon was noted immediately after the Partition with the influx of migrants but it had now grown into an
―organised land-grabbing‖ having been resorted to by the land mafia in complicity with police, revenue officials and elected
representatives.

Mr Siddiqui said the government had abandoned development of housing schemes for the low-income groups under the
pressure of the World Bank. The WB-dictated development programme delayed construction in the housing schemes by 15
to 20 years, he said, adding that as a result, the schemes like Surjani, Gulzar-i-Hijri, Shah Latif Town, etc., could not be
developed promptly and perfectly.

Zahid Farooq criticised the government saying that the old settlements inhibited by the lower-class were being bulldozed to
make way for the mafia‘s commercial plazas.
(Daily Dawn, 30/07/2007)



                                 Grey areas in Sindh’s land utilisation policy
KARACHI, July 30: In almost one and a half years since it issued a revised policy, the land utilisation department of the
Sindh government has not sold any piece of land in auctions.

The third clause of the extraordinary notification of February 25, 2006 that supersedes all the previous notifications for grant
of state land for non-agricultural purposes on lease up to 99 years, clearly states: ―No land shall be disposed off for
commercial purpose except by open auction at a price not less than the market price‖.

But Dawn has learned through sources that the matter is still under consideration by the land utilisation department that
receives millions of applications for allotment of land for all purposes.

Commenting on the revised policy, Shehri chairperson Roland de Souza says that the old policy issued in 1999 was a
tighter one.

―According to it, land for all purposes and not just for commercial use was to be allotted through auctions but they have
changed that in the new policy.‖

But why change the policy when auctioning off land will no doubt help the province generate more revenue?

                                                              17
According to a former member of the land utilisation department of the Sindh Board of Revenue (BOR), who wants to
remain anonymous, the new policy had been well-thought-out and was without any grey areas.

He said: ―The market prices of the land available for allotment are just too high for it to be auctioned now. That is why the
old policy of 1999, where land in all categories was to be auctioned, had to be revised.‖

Procedure for allotment
The portfolio of the revenue department lies with the Sindh Chief Minister, Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim. As in all cases, the
government has the absolute discretion in the selection of lessees. According to well-placed sources in the BOR, there is a
standard procedure for the allotment of land. An application sent to the chief minister is forwarded to the BOR which
appoints an executive district officer (EDO) to prepare his report keeping in consideration the land available in the proposed
area. This along with a site plan of the area is sent back to the BOR.

The rates are fixed according to the area locations; the categories include ‗A-1‘, ‗A‘, ‗B‘ and ‗C‘. This has already been
carried out by the price committee, appointed under Condition No. 8 (1) (a) of the new policy. Among other things, the
committee proposes prices after taking into consideration the price of land transferred in the same area for similar use
during the past year or so.

The price fixation is followed by the submission of recommendations to the scrutiny committee which carries out its own
inquiries. The scrutiny committee comprises six government members of the BOR, including a senior member as convener,
secretaries of the LU, finance, and the department concerned (depending on the purpose of land use), chairman of the CM
Secretariat‘s Investment Cell and two private members, representatives of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and
Industry. The scrutiny committee thereafter makes recommendations to the chief minister and after making a few further
inquires on the chief minister‘s direction, the lease agreement can be signed by a district officer on behalf of the
government along with the applicant. Under the new policy, the lease agreement prescribed by the land utilisation
department is stamped and registered by the lessee at his own cost.

But the scrutiny committee, according to Mr de Souza, ―is the modern equivalent of the jagir committee of the British,
authorised to give out parcels of land to friends and well-wishers.‖

Even though the new policy clearly defines the various purposes of land use such as industrial purpose as ―(a) a cottage,
small, medium and large industry or (b) an industrial estate or (c) an information technology park or (d) tourism activities
including hotels and offer lodgings of land‖ and residential-cum-commercial purpose as ―use of land for construction of flats,
shops and private or public offices‖, there is no clear definition as such provided for ‗commercial purpose‘, which is the only
category where land can be disposed of in auctions. Land for ‗residential‘ purpose is for not less than 25 to 50 per cent of
the market price and for ‗residential cum commercial‘ purposes at a price not less than 75 per cent of the market price.

Allotments under new policy
According to a statement issued by the Board of Revenue, Sindh, with the exception of 600 acres of land allotted to the
UAE Ambassador Ali Muhammad Al-Shamsi for the construction of a complex in August 2006, land has only been allotted
for industrial and educational purposes under the new policy so far and that too at a price much less than its real market
value. This amounts to some 15 allotments including the 1,326 acres in un-surveyed Gharo in District Thatta for the Port
Qasim Authority and 500 acres for the Aga Khan University Faculty of Arts & Sciences in Deh Chuhar in December, 2006.
The land utilisation epartment has a fairly long procedure for the allotment of lands. Ninety per cent of land allotments are
carried out in Karachi alone, followed by Hyderabad and Thatta.
(By Shazia Hasan, Dawn-17, 31/07/2007)



                               ‘Strategic Development Plan, not Master Plan’
Noted architect and town planner, Arif Hassan, has named the Master Plan 2020 as the ‗Strategic Development Plan,‘
saying that it is no more a master plan. He was addressing a seminar on Master Plan 2020 at the Urban Resource Centre
Thursday.

Talking about recent trends, Hasan said that very few cities in the world make master plans now. ―The reason is that some
cities change so fast that the plan does not match its wide spreading factor. The master plan then does not meet its
requirements.‖ Listing the weaknesses of the Karachi Master Plan 2020, he said that transport, traffic planning, and land
use had not been integrated. Moreover, the plan shows investment in an expensive light rail project which had already
been proved inappropriate for the city. Hassan said that the success of a plan depended on institutions. ―Here also, a
planning institution is needed which is autonomous and free from interference,‖ he said, adding that there was dire need for
research, consultation, accommodation and appropriate decisions by politicians. Implementation agencies should be made
accountable and transparent. ―Any project should be advertised before its execution and citizens should be given the
chance to participate,‖ he said. Management agencies are also needed that could work at a decentralised level and
coordination amongst all of the above was necessary.

―It is actually transport that gave shape to a city and determined its land use,‖ he said, adding that the government had
failed to persuade people to use public transport. According to Hassan, the plan has all the right principles of development
except the DHA Beachfront Development, the Sugar Land City, and the development of Bundal and Biddu Islands.
(The News-14, 31/08/2007)




                                                             18
AUGUST
                           Private members slam land committee’s functioning
KARACHI, Aug 2: Private sector members inducted into the scrutiny committee to review recommendations concerning the
grant of state land for non-agricultural purposes are frustrated with the committee‘s functioning and their own role, Dawn
has learnt.

―We had been agitating about there being too many hurdles in the way of making land available at the right prices for
industrial purposes,‖ said Siraj Kassam Teli, a private sector member of the scrutiny committee and former president of the
Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI). ―That is how the KCCI was brought into all this. But we are just two
people up against the government which is in the majority. We see a lot of projects but nothing seems to move ahead.‖

Lack of organisation
Mr Teli complained that ―we [the private members] do not have the expertise to comment on housing, commercial or other
projects that have nothing to do with industry, but we are nevertheless forced to remark on those aspects too.‖
He added that ―instead of doing proper research, the bureaucracy at the lower levels leaves everything to the committee
and there is no proper organisation in the land utilisation department and its secretariat. They usually give us less that 24
hours‘ notice to attend a meeting, which leaves us no time in which to study the cases. Because of this, meetings drag on
for up to eight hours.‖

Mr Teli pointed out that he and Haroon Farooki, another former KCCI president who is the other private sector member of
the committee, are businessmen and have significant other demands on their time. ―If sometimes we cannot attend a
meeting, the entire blame for slowing the process down is put on the private sector,‖ he said.

The two private sector members on the scrutiny committee complained to the Sindh chief minister about these matters, as
well as the Board of Revenue‘s shortcomings. ―He asked us to send in our proposals about correcting the loopholes in the
committee, but the summary we prepared six months ago has still not been sent to him,‖ Mr Teli informed Dawn.
―There should be separate committees for separate proposals with more than one professional in those fields.‖

New policy
In sharp contrast, the scrutiny committee member and Secretary of the Land Utilisation Department, Board of Revenue,
Government of Sindh, Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, said that the scrutiny committee is doing a marvellous job.
―It is a broad-based system with proper evaluation criteria, making objective decisions,‖ he enthused.
―Anyone in the committee can raise an objection and allotting precious government land is no longer a one-man decision.‖

Private sector representatives have been inducted into the scrutiny committee under Section 8-1(b) of the government of
Sindh Land Utilisation Department‘s notification dated February 25, 2006, and published in the Extraordinary Sindh
Government Gazette. The clause states that in addition to five government representatives, the scrutiny committee will
consist of ―two representatives of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, one of them shall be from the real
estate business, to process the market price proposed by the Price Committee and make recommendation to the
government in this behalf.‖

The scrutiny committee currently comprises private sector representatives Mr Teli and Mr Farooki, secretary of the Land
Utilisation Department, Mr Siddiqui, senior member of the Board of Revenue, Anwar Hyder, the chairman of the Investment
Cell, Chief Minister‘s Secretariat, Muslim Abbasi, the Secretary Finance and one secretary from any of the concerned
government departments, ie Industries, Education, Health, Housing or Cooperatives.
            The policy that came into force last February works on two levels. The available land is categorised and prices
are settled at the executive district officer (EDO) level, and the Board of Revenue level, ie the scrutiny committee, takes it
from there, said Mr Teli, who was earlier a member of the pricing committee at the EDO level.

System overhaul
The government‘s purpose in revising the Sindh land utilisation policy is to generate socio-economic activity and
employment opportunities, said Mr Siddiqui.
―Industry is good, since in addition to providing jobs, it increases export which brings in more money for the country,‖ he
commented. ―The government has a vision and a mission to support industrialisation as well as community-based projects
such as places of worship, schools, colleges, hospitals and housing.‖

But before these ideals can be realised, much work needs to be done. According to former KCCI president and member of
the scrutiny board Mr Farooki, ―the land utilisation system needs to be redefined. If the government really wants to see
industry flourish here, it should have an across-the-board system that will also include those people who already have land
on 30-year leases. They should be given a one-time opportunity to convert their leases into 99-year leases since that will
help the pace of industrialisation.‖

The chairman of the chief minister‘s investment cell and permanent member of the scrutiny committee, Muslim Abbasi,
believes that small-medium enterprises (SMEs) should be developed. ―They are the economy‘s backbone,‖ he said, ―an
educated, talented lot, the people involved in small industries do not have collateral and the job market is not picking up
simply because we are not developing small industries.‖
(By Shazia Hasan, Dawn-17, 03/08/2007)



                                 Proposed changes to tenancy law analysed
KARACHI, Aug 2: Mutual suspicion and misgivings persisted between representatives of haris (peasants) and landlords,
especially over the Taqawi loans issue, at the fourth meeting of the Sindh Assembly‘s Select Committee held here on
Thursday to formulate proposals for amendments to the Sindh Tenancy Act (STA).
The meeting, chaired by Anwar Mahar, discussed introduction of reforms in the age-old relationship between haris and
landlords for bringing it in conformity with the evolving ground realities.

                                                             19
It emerged from the proceedings that impediments in most cases stemmed from the non-payment of Taqawi (advance)
loans often acquired by haris or their forefathers from their respective landlords.

Speaker of the Sindh Assembly Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah, who attended the second session, observed that the
purpose this meeting was to propose amendments to the STA in order to make it just and fair for either side and ensure the
landlord-tenant relationship streamlined on the basis of equality.

Status of parties defined
Under the Sindh Tenancy Act, a ―hari‖ is not an ordinary labourer or workman within the meaning of the Industrial Relations
Ordinance or the Standing Order. He is a partner/co-sharer in the produce with the ―zamindar‖. The Act says that a
Mukhtiarkar is required to maintain the record of tenants and tenancies.

It was observed in the meeting that most Mukhtiarkars did not maintain proper records and this created tensions between
the two parties involved in a dispute.
The committee was also seized with a judgment given by Justice (retd) Zahid Qurban Alvi of the Sindh High Court who
ruled that it was obligatory upon the Mukhtiarkar to make such entries periodically and update the record regularly.

The judgment states that disputes between haris and landlords should be adjudicated, decided and determined by a judicial
forum, more appropriately by conferring powers of a ‗tenancy tribunal‘ on a civil judge and/or a judicial magistrate as the
case may be, instead of a Mukhtiarkar.

Appeal against the order of such a tribunal may be provided to the district judge concerned. The revision jurisdiction may
be conferred on the high court concerned.

Govt’s intervention opposed
Some of the participants held the view that government‘s intervention in the settlement of such matters should be
minimised and the matter should be settled according to ‗rivaj‘ (custom of the land). However, some other participants
stressed the need for ‗Arbitration Act‘ to settle such matters, arguing that the nature of relationship between haris and
landlords had undergone a drastic change. They noted that the problem of disputes over Taqawi loans was an issue many
other countries were faced with. By drawing on the experience of others, the form of tenancy should changed to introduce
an agreement on a ‗crop-to-crop basis‘.

Some participants criticised the role of the NGOs in this regard, observing that they were tarnishing the image of landlords
who, according to them, took care of their haris in distress. Concern was also expressed about the problems being faced by
landlords, especially in lower Sindh, in the recovery of Taqawi loans from nomadic haris.

‘Bonded Labour legitimised’
National coordinator on bonded labour for the Society for the Protection of the Rights of Child proposed clause-wise
amendments, claiming that Article 22 and 25 of the Tenancy Act legitimised ‗begar‘ (bonded labour) and were in conflict
with the Article 11 of the Constitution. He also objected to the laws which discriminated against minority community.
The sharp disparity existing in the standard of living maintained by haris and landlords was also mentioned, and it was
observed that even the existing laws were not followed otherwise the lot of haris would have improved.

Had the land reforms been across the board and in good faith, these problems would not have surfaced.
The meeting was told that the landlord-tenant relationship was customary in this province since the inception of Sukkur
Barrage. Tenants took Taqavi loans from landlords and worked as haris and in case of a dispute, the matter was referred to
the tribunal under the Sindh Tenancy Act.

The amendments proposed by the NGO representative suggest that a tenant should be deemed a permanent tenant even
if all installment of the land purchased from government have not been paid by the buyer; and even if he has annually
cultivated one acre or more land of the same landlord for three months.
A hari should be called ‗inherent hari‘ even if the land has been taken from the government on lease. The consent of
landlord should not be necessary for transferring the right of tenancy at some other part or parcel of the land of the same
landlord.

Compensation be paid to the tenant if the landlord chooses to evict him. The amount of compensation should be Rs10,000
per acre; or the value of the share of tenant in the most productive crop within four years; or 25 per cent share of the value
of the land from which he is being evicted or any one of those which has the highest value.

Symbol of feudalism irritating
Many participants of the meeting expressed their reservations over the word ‗landlord‘ for landlord, suggesting that it
created an impression that feudalism was still in vogue in Sindh though it had been abolished during the Ayub Khan/ Z.A.
Bhutto era.

The provision of granting right of claims to the tenant, who has cultivated the agricultural land of same survey number for
two years is highly detrimental to the landlords because in such a situation no landlord would be willing to employ a hari on
his land, according to some participants, who were of the view that it was also not beneficial to haris because it could cause
unemployment. The meeting was told that this provision amounted to giving ownership to haris. It was also contended that
provision of allocating every time the fixed survey numbers of agriculture land to the particular tenant was not in conformity
with the modern agriculture practices.

The Sindh Abadgar Board suggested that in case of a tenant‘s absence for more than one year, the landowner should be
free to select any other tenant.

Members of the committee included Anwar Ahmad Khan Mahar (chairman), Jam Mehtab Hussain, Syed Ali Mardan Shah,
Haji Munawwar Ali Abbasi, Haji Pir Bux Junejo, Jam Madad Ali, Syed Jalal Shah Jamot, Mir Naseer Khan Khoso, Syed
Talib Imam, Poonjo Mal, Ms Sharfunnisa Leghari and Ms Nuzhat Pathan.

The committee, which has heard many experts, would meet again on Friday for clause-by-clause deliberation.
(By Shamim-ur-Rahman, Dawn-19, 03/08/2007)

                                                             20
                           Financial losses not the only aspect of land grabbing
Land grabbers, in connivance with the officials of Board of Revenue (BoR), devour 1,000 acres of land valued at one billion
rupees every year in Karachi, according to Tasneem Siddiqui, a leading sociologist and former director general, Sindh
Katchi Abadis Authority.

There are 803 Goths in Karachi that have been the abode of indigenous Sindhi and Baloch people, but maddening
urbanisation and land grabbing have rendered natives into aliens.
―Orangi Town, Gadap Town, Lalukhet, Mauripur, Malir, Landhi, Baba Bhit Shah and other islands, Ibrahim Hyderi, Safari
Park, and the area near Jheel Park in PECHS were all Goths. Mauripur was a 200-year-old Goth,‖ Siddiqui told The News.

Some of these Goths have historical significance. For instance the very name Malir in Sindhi language means ―green and
fertile.‖ Poets and saints such as Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai have sung about its beautiful landscape. Prior to partition, Malir
Valley was a lush green oasis, self-sufficient in fruits, vegetables and grain and productive enough to provide gainful
employment to all its inhabitants. The older generation in Malir recalls with nostalgia how beautiful and fertile their valley
was in yesteryears. Locals claim they taught farmers of Thatta and several other districts how to grow fruits and many
crops.

Similarly, Gadap, situated some 44 kilometres north east of Karachi, has been serving as pastures for the livestock of
nomadic tribes of southern Sindh. One can also find plantations of chiko, guava, coconut, falsa and other fruits still thriving
in the area despite encroachments.

Landhi was also a Goth inhabited by Baloch people and is of historical significance. According to Mohammad Usman
Damohi, author of ―Karachi Tareeq Ke Iaine Mein,‖ Landhi has a history of more than 50,000 years.

Korangi is situated on the other side of Malir River. It, too, had several Goths. An air force base was constructed here
during World War II and is now known as Korangi Creek.

Drigh Road is another place where Baloch and Sindhi people lived in Goths. During World War I and II, military stores and
barracks were constructed here besides a railway station. In 1924, a civilian airport was constructed, followed by an air
force base during World War II but the remnants of Baloch Goths are still present there.

Similarly, Manora was inhabited by Sindhi fishermen but it was declared a cantonment in 1903 and locals were forced to
migrate to Baba Bhit and Shams islands.

Though people have been living in these Goths since centuries, most of them have no property rights. Gothabad Act 1987
was aimed at giving sanctity to the property of these Goths besides developing the villages. Instead of providing solace to
the impoverished inhabitants, its inertia provided strength to the land mafia that became active and starting grabbing land
methodically, followed by bogus developmental projects.

―The land mafia begins its activity through grabbing land around Goths and acquiring ‗sanads‘ from the Board of Revenue.
Thereafter, developmental projects are announced. Ultimately, Goths are encroached. Today, one can find hundreds of
schemes without a clear title. The Board of Revenue on its part does not conduct surveys to clearly define the land,‖ said
Siddiqui.

―Land grabbing is a multi-billion rupee business in Karachi. It also often becomes a political issue because the City District
Government Karachi and the Board of Revenue at times are at loggerheads,‖ he said.

―For instance, Juma Goth behind NIPA was demolished on the pretext that it was on a water main. But Pakistan People‘s
Party took a stance that locals were being harassed,‖ he explains. In fact, police, local councilors, and land grabbers work
in unison, he added.

The phenomenon has advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that the relatively poor segments of society for
whom the government offers no housing schemes, acquire land, but many a times such schemes are also bulldozed.
However, eviction of locals, sadly enough, is a permanent feature.
(By Shahid Husain, The News-13, 04/08/2007)



                                                 The neglected temple
The Jain Temple of Pari Nagar, situated at Virawah, some four miles from Nagarparkar in district Tharparkar is in
shambles. This is because of the general apathy of our people towards heritage and scarce resources available with the
Department of Archeology, Sindh. It has also been an eyesore to religious bigots who reportedly disfigured two idols, which
were in an intimate embrace.

Similarly, while the road network in Tharparkar has connected the
impoverished land with urban centres, including Karachi, it has also been a
bad omen for heritage sites. Picnickers who frequent the desert after monsoon
when it becomes lush green visit Tharparkar and feel no qualms in taking
away statues from the temples just for fun. The more enterprising amongst
them indulge in such acts in the hope that they will make a fortune by selling
the artefacts to foreign buyers.

"It is presumed that the Temple is a part of the city of Pari Nagar. If the area is
properly excavated we can find a lot about the history and layout of the lost
city besides precious artefacts of that unique period," Qasim Ali Qasim,
Director, Department of Archaeology & Museums, government of Pakistan,
told TNS.


                                                               21
Captain Stanley Napier Raikes, author of 'Memoir on the Thurr and Parkur' traces the history of Jain temples as under:
"They (the temples) clearly demonstrate that at the time of their construction -- and which, from dates engraved on some of
the slabs, was probably in the middle of the eleventh century --the artisans were by no means behind those of after-times in
the art of sculpture. The figures and ornamental sculpture and designs in various parts of the buildings are beautifully
executed, particularly the figures, which are better proportioned and executed than almost any I have seen in the East."

According to Qasim, the Ran of Kutch happened to be a sea and Pari Nagar was established as a seaport in 500B.C. It
was a busy port of the area, had international significance and enjoyed trade links with Kutch Buj, Peer Bandar, Mandlay,
Lanka and Sumatra.

It is said that Pari Nagar seaport was destroyed by an earthquake. According to Tarikh Farishta, Abn-e-Batuta also passed
from here and it was destroyed by Jalaluddin Khawariza Shah in 1223 A.D.

Initially there were six Jain temples in the area. The Verawah temple consists of two
rooms having a large hall called mandapa besides a small, dark chamber called vehana.
These rooms have lost their glory with the passage of time and most of the sculptures
and paintings have been defaced or usurped.

Despite the fact that the temple is in bad shape due to a host of factors, it is a finished
example of building art. Its masonry is orderly and the architectural treatment of the parts
is still in a position to show how knowledgeable its builders were.

"As many as 21 sculptures of Jain period were recovered in January 2006 during the
construction of Virawah-Nagarparkar road from local people and Rangers posted nearby.
Initially, Rangers did not allow us to enter their camps but we were able to inspect them
when their high-ups were contacted," says Qasim.

"We found 35 carved architectural elements on marble. On January 24, 2006, these
were staked at Veriwah temple while small items were shifted to Umerkot Museum," he
adds.

Today, the white marble temple looks deserted and without any guard despite the fact that it's a site of immense heritage
value. Around the temple have cropped up thick bushes while a green solitary tree stands on the left side of the temple as if
silently registering the plunder of precious artefacts. Pieces of red bricks are scattered everywhere.

A notice at the site placed by the Department of Archeology & Museums, Pakistan, warns: "Under the provision of Section
19 of the Antiquities Act 1975 (VII of 1976), any person who destroys, damages, alters, disfigures or scribbles, writes or
engages any inscription or sign on the place shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to
three years, or with fine or with both."

However, the thieves and robbers of artefacts are seldom apprehended because the guard posted there is never present.
In 2006, it was reported that two operators of an excavator digging the Virawah-Nagarparkar road found a very old pitcher
filled with gold jewellery and simply disappeared with the bounty.

But, Qasim believes, the remains of Pari Nagar not only provide an opportunity to explore history but could also become a
site of religious tourism.
"The pieces of iron found here are an indication of ship making industry in the old Pari Nagar dockyard," he says.
Qasim also points out that the Jains in India are pretty rich and could become a major source of attraction if "religious
tourism" (in his words) is promoted well.

"Our department has prepared a master plan for the conservation and restoration of heritage sites and to make them a
tourist attraction. With the advent of Thar Express we can attract the Jain population in India and promote religious
tourism," he says.

The pilgrimage would also provide job opportunities to the local people and boost relations between Pakistan and India, he
says.

"Two pillars of Virawah Temple have also been preserved in the Karachi National Musuem during the colonial period."
He says that the government has earmarked Rs 500 million for conservation work in Sindh and an additional Rs 500 million
for survey and documentation under a 10-year plan that extends up to 2011.

Chacha Ali Nawaz, 81, a respected figure of Nagarparkar declares that he is a witness to the fact that the people of Jain
religion lived in Tharparkar prior to Partition, but after Pakistan achieved independence in 1947 they migrated to India and
took many statues with them.
"There were about 800 Jain families in Pari Nagar prior to Partition but they were looted by Thakurs and they shifted to
India," he says.
(By Shahid Hussain, The News-33, 05/08/2007)



                                 ‘Apna Ghar’ allottees get ownership papers
KARACHI, Aug 10: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz handed over ownership documents of some of the 544 apartment built
under an apartment scheme undertaken by the Pakistan Housing Authority in Gulistan-i-Jauhar to their respective allottees
at a ceremony held at the Governor‘s House on Friday.

Addressing the ceremony, he said the government was striving to provide shelter and other basic facilities to citizens.
The scheme was one of the several housing projects initiated by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif under the title of
―Apna Ghar‖. About 10,000 residential plots are to be developed in Taiser Town and another 36,000 are being planned to
be built in Malir.

                                                              22
Mr Aziz said that the projects undertaken by the provincial and local governments for infrastructural development would
further help meet people‘s requirements.

Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister for Housing Babar Ghauri announced two bonuses for the PHA employees.
Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad, federal ministers Ameer Muqam and Tariq Azeem, Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister on
Home Wasim Akhtar, City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal, MQM legislators and a large number of government officials
attended the ceremony.
(Dawn-18, 11/08/2007)



                                      SHC order against ‘offending builder’
KARACHI, Aug 10: In the context of a Ranchore Lines building accused of violating construction laws, a division bench of
the Sindh High Court ordered on Friday that not only would the building be demolished but the builder would also have to
pay compensation to everyone who had purchased property in the building. The bench directed the city district government
and the Anti-Corruption Establishment to investigate the builder/owner‘s title for a ground-plus-six-storey structure raised
against a plan approved by the Karachi Building Control Authority for a ground-plus-three-storey structure. Furthermore, the
building on plot no. 194, Ranchore Lines, covers not only the compulsory open space but also the road area on three sides.

The agitation against the illegal construction was initiated by a resident of the area, who accused the KBCA of taking no
action against either the builder or its own officials who condoned the violations. In its reply, the KBCA pointed that the
building is occupied and it is unable to act against the offending builders in the absence of police support, which is not
forthcoming. The authority‘s counsel, Shahid Jamil Khan, said that the ownership of the building is also in doubt and that
the KCBA had issued notices in the press warning the public against purchasing property in the complex. He added that
two regularisation plans submitted by the builder had been rejected.

Justices Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Ali Sain Dino Metlo, who constituted the bench, gave the city government and the ACE
two weeks to scrutinise the title deeds. If the deeds are found fabricated, the building will be demolished and the builder will
have to refund the amount paid to him by the purchasers/allottees.

The KCBA said it had proceeded against officials found to have been involved. The minor penalties earlier awarded to the
officials, which had failed to satisfy the court in view of the gravity of the offence, had been converted into major
punishments. Accordingly, G.M. Durrani, the concerned assistant controller of buildings, had been compulsorily retired
while assistant buildings controllers Hamidullah Shaikh and Arshad Ahmad had been demoted from grade 17 to grade 16.
In addition, four annual increments of deputy controller Munawwar Siddiqui and assistant controller Safdar Magsi had been
stopped.

The petition will come up for hearing again in two weeks.

Court dismisses ANF informer’s petition
Having been found to apparently be involved in trafficking, the petition of an Anti-Narcotics Force informer has been
dismissed by Justice Qaider Iqbal of the Sindh High Court.

In his petition, Mohammed Saif had complained of being harassed by the ANF. He had stated that he had given the force
valuable information in four cases involving hundreds of grams of heroin, yet his house had been raided by ANF officials.

Appearing on behalf of the ANF, advocate Ashfaq Hussain Rizvi and Maj Naveed, the deputy director of the force,
submitted two non-bailable warrants for the petitioner‘s arrest issued by a special anti-narcotics court in two cases
registered against Saif.

They said that the petitioner had been declared an absconder in the cases and the police was required to arrest him. While
the court dismissed Saif‘s petition and directed the ANF and the police to strictly adhere to the law, the order also stated
that the petitioner may be arrested without being harassed.

Meanwhile, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed and Justice Faisal Arbab decided to hear detailed
arguments on the question of hearing bail applications of those accused under the Control of Narcotic Substances Act by a
single judge of the High Court on Aug 21. Advocate Ashfaq Rizvi had earlier argued that under Section 48 of the CNS Act,
1997, bail matters could be heard by a division bench, just as bail applications of those accused under other special laws
such as the Anti-Terrorism Act are heard by division benches.

Ownership reiterated
Justice Mushir Alam restrained Din TV from airing or telecasting the programme ‗Pakistani Idol.‘ Advocate Mohammad Ali
Mazhar argued on behalf the channel Geo that it had acquired exclusive rights to telecast the programme from M/s
Freemantle Media (Private) Limited.
(Dawn-19, 11/08/2007)



                                 Bridge collapses and Khuda ki Basti cut off
KARACHI: The bridge that connects Khuda Ki Basti to Surjani Town, over Barani Nullah, collapsed Thursday midnight due
an overflow of water from Hub Dam. As a result, Khuda Ki Basti has been cut off from the city and residents have been
trapped inside the area.

Those coming home from work were stranded on the road leading to the bridge. The bridge was the only route connecting
Khuda Ki Basti to other areas of the city through Surjani Town.

As the water pressure was very strong, ropes were used to cross the nullah. Electricity poles in the area collapsed as well,
and as a result, the power supply to the area has been cut off. The fast flowing water even swept away some motorcycles
and bicycles with it.
                                                              23
―The water flow in Barani Nullah picked up pace Thursday midnight, due to which the bridge over the nullah collapsed
because it couldn‘t bear the pressure. Although, repair work started on the bridge around 5:30 p.m. Friday, the water
pressure increased and rose to the level of the roads [that were connected by the downward-curved bridge],‖ said the
MQM‘s unit in-charge in Khuda Ki Basti, Rasheed Durrani. He claimed that Gadap Town Nazim Ghulam Murtaza Baloch
did not visit the area.

On the other hand, Baloch told Daily Times that Barani Nullah in Khuda Ki Basti has been reduced by encroachments in
the form of goths. He added that land grabbers have started plotting and selling land in the names of Khair Muhammad
Goth, Rozi Goth, and other goths. ―The city government is not planning anything regarding this nullah. If the boundary walls
of the nullah are strengthened, the bridge is elevated and the encroachments removed then daily losses and routes being
cutting off can be prevented,‖ he said.

The nullah had filled up during the previous rains as well and the goths around it were inundated with water, which resulted
in the loss of lives and property, but, nothing was been done to prevent further losses.

Baloch said that Afridi Goth, Sultanabad, Yousuf Goth, Jananbad, and other goths have been inundated with water as well.
Councillor Janan, who was with Baloch, said that calls were being made to the city government‘s emergency centres, but,
no response was being received.

Besides, the Manghopir Water Board‘s (MWB) executive engineer (canal), Imdad Hussain Manghi, told Daily Times that
100 MGD water was being supplied from Hub Dam to Hub Canal. The cracks that appeared in the dam have been
repaired, he said, and added that a monitoring team had been formed for any untoward incident. The MWB‘s filter
executive engineer, Rehmatullah, said that 52 MGD water was being supplied to the city. ―We supply the city whatever we
are receive.‖
(By Munawar Pirzada, Daily Times-B1, 11/08/2007)



                                  ‘Land grabbing has blocked city’s drains’
KARACHI: Land grabbing near the sea has blocked sewage lines that empty storm water out there, explained environment
activist Roland DeSouza, who has argued that Karachi needs to survey its existing storm and sewerage water drains to
understand why the city gets flooded each time.
―The Karachi Port Trust‘s (KPT) recent claim to 130 acres of land off Mai Kolachi road has affected the flow [outfall] of three
major drains,‖ DeSouza explained. ―KPT has thus made one drain take on the load of three which is why there is flooding in
different coastal residential areas.‖ When Clifton‘s Nehar-e-Khayam was blocked last year, for example, the people of Bath
Island and its surrounds experienced the worst type of flooding ever.

DeSouza was also critical that the government has no enforced encroachment laws. ―Before Partition, the British
government had not only preserved the city‘s natural storm water drains but had also kept them in good condition,‖ he said.
―They constructed concrete walls and took other measures to ensure the flow of rainwater. During the last 30 to 40 years,
however, people have not only encroached on natural drains but have also reduced their width.‖

According to DeSouza, all of Karachi‘s rain-related problems are man-made and neither the government nor the city‘s
people have had the vision to plan for residential and commercial areas. ―The time has come to conduct an extensive
survey of the city‘s storm and sewerage water drains and check the level of water flow in different areas,‖ he insisted. ―This
complicated engineering exercise has to be done because no one in the past six decades has bothered to think about the
heavy rains in the metropolis.‖

DeSouza, who works with NGO Shehri with Amber Alibhai, added that City Nazim Mustafa Kamal had recently approached
him for help making the storm drain master plan for Karachi. ―The project will be initiated soon and he (nazim) is currently
seeking financial assistance from the federal government to begin.‖
(By Jamil Khan, Daily Times-B1, 11/08/2007)



                                    Seven of a family die in house collapse
KARACHI, Aug 11: Collapsing structures have killed a further eight people, seven of them from the same family, raising the
death toll of the recent heavy rains to 29. A carpenter, his wife and five of their children were killed when their Korangi
house collapsed in the heavy rain early Saturday morning. In a separate incident, an 18-year-old youth was killed when the
wall of his house collapsed during the downpour.

The bodies were taken to the Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Complex where the victims of the tragedy were identified as
55-year-old carpenter Mohammed Yaseen, his wife Rafiqan Bibi, their daughter Mehvish (17) and sons Irfan (13), Shahzad
(11), Shahbaz (9) and Arsalan (5). The family had been living in a rented portion of a house in Street No. 10 of Abdullah
Shah Colony, Korangi No. 1 ½.

According to the victims‘ neighbour Yamin, who initiated efforts to rescue the trapped people, the carpenter had re-rented
the portion only two months ago after having lived there for four months. Yamin told Dawn that he heard a loud crash at
1.55am and rushed out of his house ―to find the victims buried under the rubble of their collapsed house.‖
With the aid of three of his brothers and five other men, Yamin started the rescue operation. ―Only two of Yaseen‘s children,
seven-year-old Sehrish and 15-year-old Riaz, nicknamed Raja, were still alive,‖ he said. ―We pulled them out of the debris
and shifted them to hospital.‖ Sehrish is said to be in a stable condition while her brother is being operated upon in Chiniot
Hospital, Korangi.

Edhi spokesperson Anver Kazmi stated that the bodies were being kept at the Edhi morgue and would be handed over to
the victims‘ heirs on Sunday for the funeral.

According to residents of the area, the carpenter‘s eldest son was in Dubai and was scheduled to reach Karachi late
Saturday night.
                                                             24
The area‘s residents told Dawn that the collapsed house is owned by Mohammed Rafique who lives in a portion on the
upper storey. Reportedly, he is in the Punjab at the moment but his family and other tenants were in the house when
Yaseen‘s portion collapsed. Meanwhile, 18-year-old Abdul Ghani Soomro, originally from Larkana, was killed when the wall
of his house in the same locality collapsed. Residents said that the victim‘s family took the body to their hometown in the
small hours of the morning.

Residents informed Dawn that at least 10 houses collapsed in Gilgit Colony and New Noorani Colony in Korangi No. 1 ½,
almost at the same time as when Yaseen‘s house collapsed. Shah Hussain, a resident of Gilgit Colony, added that several
walls collapsed in his locality but no one was injured in the incidents.
―It started happening after a series of rolls of thunder,‖ he said.
(By Tahir Siddiqui, Dawn-17, 12/08/2007)



                                            ‘Commando’ action in DHA
On the orders of the Corps Commander, and with the help of the City Nazim, Mustafa Kamal, and other stakeholders, an
emergency exercise has been started to rid DHA residential areas of standing water. A DHA press statement said that the
seafront promenade between McDonalds and Village Restaurant will be closed so that the road is cut at different places
and channels are made to drain water into the sea. The DHA said that parts of Defence were flooded because the
sewerages system collapsed due to the quantum of rainwater. The DHA said that the worst affected areas were from Kh
Rahat to Saher, Nishat to Hilal, Shamshir to Mujahid, Saba Avenue and all adjoining streets of these areas. The DHA
administrator has apologized for the inconvenience caused, adds the statement. It says that a visible change will be
witnessed in the next 24 to 36 hours.
(The News-14, 15/08/2007)



                       Some DHA residents to file petition to come under CDGK
KARACHI: Life has come to a stop in DHA‘s residential and commercial areas because of the level of the water in most
places. Four days of water accumulation has resulted in basements filling up with four to six feet of water, roads with four
feet and water tanks becoming unusable.

Hundreds of thousands of rupees worth of electronic items have been destroyed in homes and shops and commodity items
have become unusable. The DHA takes between Rs 10,000 and Rs 100,000 in taxes every year from each house and/or
building within their jurisdiction.

Residents demanded the Sindh government give the city government authority over DHA and have said that they will file a
petition in the courts regarding this matter.

Fawaz Suhail, a resident of Khayaba-e-Muhafiz and a Karachi Port trustee, said that there is four to five feet of water on the
streets and his house‘s water tank is filled with rainwater. He said that he give the DHA Rs 50,000 in taxes every. Just one
month ago the DHA had built the road in front of his house, but apparently, they didn‘t put any lining in it for this kind of
situation, he added.
He said that the city government should be in charge of this place and that he will get 50 people to sign a petition that he
will file in the court. All of the residents have agreed to this, he added.

Rasheed Uddeen, a businessman, said that the rains didn‘t just suddenly come; everyone knew that it would rain. ―The
DHA doesn‘t plan and the city government should take charge. Without a municipal system the problem will not be solved,‖
he said.
He has a 500 square yard house and he pays Rs 30,000 in taxes to the DHA every year. The water hasn‘t been taken care
of in four days and now the amount of insects is increasing which is causing even more problems, he added.

DHA Administrator Brig. Kamran said that it rained too much this time and that‘s why there‘re so many problems. ―People
have a right to be annoyed. We are working on it and it will take time. We‘re installing lines in three places on Beach
Avenue and in 24 hours the water will go,‖ he said.

MPA Akhtar Mohammad Bilgrami, the MQM in-charge of Defence-Clifton residential, said that the DHA‘s priority is to make
clubs and not to provide citizens with relief. ―This is the third time that water has gathered like this. The water board
provides the DHA with water at minimum rates and it gives it to the citizens at double the rate,‖ he said.
He said that he has a 200-square-yard building on Badar Commercial and he has disconnected the water line in protest
because, even though water is never available, a 260,000-rupee water bill was given to him by the DHA. He said that they
spend Rs 9,000 per month just to buy water from tankers. ―Why do we give taxes to the DHA when the water board is
supplying water? There is no coordination between the water board and the DHA,‖ he stated.

Daily Times witnessed that phases IV, V and VI have turned into creeks. Khayaban-e-Sahar, Rahat, Mohafiz, Shujaat,
Saba Avenue and Saba, Tawheed, Bader, Nishat and Muslim Commercial are submerged in two to eight feet of water,
families are stuck at home and to top it all off, power has been cut out in a lot of places.

Main Tauheed commercial‘s 26th street and surrounding areas turned into what the underpass became last monsoon
season.
―It is an emergency-like situation and we went down on a Sunday but there was nobody but a guard at the CCB office on
Rahat which was by the way dry from the inside whereas the surrounding areas are flooded,‖ said Owais Ahmed a resident
of 27th street Khayaban-e-Sehr. ―Granted Sunday is a holiday but on Monday again when I went to the CCB office there
was nobody present to file my complaint.‖

Other residents have been stranded and confined to their homes unless they own or can manage to find someone who
owns a four-wheel drive and can come to their rescue.

Resident Beena Sulaiman told Daily Times that her daughter was due to arrive from the US early Monday morning and had
                                                             25
to wait at the airport for two hours till she managed to find a reasonable means of transportation. ―I had to call someone I
know who owns a jeep to come and take me to the airport and now with the gutters overflowing everyone is falling sick
also, it is a desperate situation,‖ she said. ―Last year this did not happen and if you note, all the roads that have recently
been built are the ones with the flooding problems.‖ Khayaban-e-Badar, which is still in its original condition, is perfectly dry,
I feel it is a construction flaw, she added.

Owais Ahmed proposed that the CDGK should be given the responsibility for DHA and Clifton. ―It is a shame that taxpayers
can‘t get proper facilities,‖ he said. Ayla Butt, the wife of Major (retd) Humanyun Butt, said that her husband had gone to
personally complain to Brig. Kamran Kazi to no avail. As an engineer, her husband had even tried to make a few
suggestions in order to speed up the process.
(By Munawar Pirzada and Urooj Ahmed, Daily Times-B1, 15/08/2007)



                            Local govts’ apathy leaves heritage sites vulnerable
KARACHI, Aug 15: The officials of the Archaeology Department‘s Southern Circle have complained to the senior authorities
about lack of cooperation from the respective district governments vis-à-vis action for the removal of encroachments from
protected heritage sites.

The Southern Circle had received directives from the senior authorities in Islamabad asking them to identify encroachments
on all the protected sites in Sindh and take action for their removal in compliance with the orders passed by the Human
Rights Cell, Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Referring to the Supreme Court‘s orders, the Southern Circle‘s office in Karachi informed the director-general, Archaeology
and Museums Department, that they approached the Sindh chief secretary with the request to direct the district officers
concerned for compliance with the SC‘s order to remove encroachments from the protected archaeological sites in Sindh.
In response, officials said, the chief secretary‘s office directed the DCOs of Karachi, Hyderabad, Larkana, Khairpur, Sukkur,
Thatta, Dadu, Sanghar, Qambar-Shahdadkot and Tharparkar for the removal of encroachments from the protected sites in
their respective areas.

Officials said the deputy-director, sub-regional office, Hyderabad, reported that he had approached the district nazims,
DCOs and other senior officials concerned of Hyderabad, Umerkot, Sanghar and Khairpur with the request to take action
against the encroachers but no action had been taken so far.

Similarly, the field officers and curators of archaeological museums of Moenjodaro, Makli, Bhambore and Umerkot have
reported to the office in Karachi that they had approached their respective district nazims and other officials to help them
remove encroachments, but in vain.

Lately, the archaeology department‘s efforts to dislodge encroachers from Moenjodaro went in vain when the revenue
department refused its officials‘ request for help in removing encroachers from the world heritage site.
The curator of the Moenjodaro museum had issued notices a couple of months ago to 15 individuals who had raised illegal
structures and seven growers who had started cultivating the land within the vicinity of the heritage site, protected under the
Antiquities Act, 1975.

However, the Larkana district administration gave little response even in carrying out demarcation of the ancient city,
spread over some 555 acres.

Sources said the officials of the archaeology department were facing similar difficulties in other districts where huge
archaeological treasures are left up for grabs.
However, the official sources said they were repeatedly approaching the district authorities concerned to do the needful as
the department was continuously receiving reminders for compliance with the apex court‘s order.
(By Hasan Mansoor, Dawn-18, 16/08/2007)



                              DHA digs trenches in front of residential complex
The method that the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) has adopted to pump accumulated rainwater out of the affected
streets has disturbed the lives of residents who have been enduring great physical and mental agony these days.

Residents of Phase-5 and 5-Extension have expressed anger and resentment that the authority has dug up many important
streets in order to stream the rainwater into the sea through trenches. Country Club Apartments is one such building that
has been badly affected by the trenches that have been dug right in front of the building‘s main entrance.
The complex of buildings, which is located on the ‗B‘ Street of DHA Phase 5-Extension, comprises of around 200
apartments. The residents of the building have been suffering extreme inconvenience since Sunday night when the DHA
dug the trenches.

The general secretary of the building, Humaira Mehmood told The News that leaving the building has become both
inconvenient and dangerous for the residents as they have to cross the trenches using wooden planks and slabs.

Residents fear that they might slip and fall into the trenches that are filled with rain and sewage water. ―My son fell in the
ditch the other day while crossing it,‖ one annoyed resident told The News.

The sewage water that is flowing in front of the apartments has spread several diseases amongst the residents. Many have
developed eye infections. ―We can‘t open the windows of our apartments due to the huge amount of mosquitoes that have
bred on the filthy water,‖ complained Muhammad Ayub, another resident.

Many of the residents have temporarily moved to their relatives‘ places while others are left with no option but to stay put.
Parents were quite angry and said that the DHA should have at least closed the schools for some time as, ―Even sending
the children to school is a big problem in such a situation when there‘s no proper way to go out,‖ said another resident.
                                                               26
Others said that the DHA officials have been very rude and discourteous through out the rain period and its aftermath. ―I
was threatened by the head of the DHA Vigilance Department, Major Sajjad when I opposed this action and I was told that
no one can stop DHA from doing it,‖ said Mehmood.

According to the residents, the DHA official, Col. Ikram, who is in-charge of the work had later taken them into confidence
and, ―committed that the work wouldn‘t prolong for more than a day whereas it‘s going to be five days now,‖ it was pointed
out.

Mehmood was annoyed with the fact that the DHA has dug up the road that was built just recently. ―The road had been
carpeted hardly four months ago and now they are digging it up again,‖ she said, adding that Col. Ikram has promised that
once the work is done, DHA would re-make the road.

Street B is one of the four streets that the DHA has dug up all the way to the beach avenue. Because of this, the beach
avenue has been partially closed for traffic. Owing to the closure of the roads, hardly any public can make their way to Sea
View, which usually remains over-crowded.
Highlighting the seriousness of the situation, it was pointed out that there are five cancer patients in the building. ―God
forbid, if an ambulance is needed, there‘s no way of taking a patient out of here,‖ said one resident.
(By Aisha Masood, The News-13, 17/08/2007)



                       Commercialisation changing the face of neighbourhoods
KARACHI, Aug 19: Fast-increasing legal as well as illegal commercialisation of residential bungalows and buildings is
resulting in traffic congestion owing to increased vehicular activity, besides changing the character of residential
neighbourhoods.

Mushroom growth of marriage halls, CNG stations, schools, hospitals, shops, car showrooms and even offices and other
commercial activities on various primary and secondary roads and around main traffic intersections has not only become a
permanent nuisance for the neighbourhoods, it is also burdening the infrastructure network of such localities.

Besides, the main entry points of a number of residential areas often remain choked owing to increased vehicular traffic
following the setting up of CNG stations, marriage halls and schools on either side of the roads.

A random survey of the city shows that there is a tremendous increase in commercial activities along major thoroughfares
and various busy roads which link towns and residential areas with one another.
A number of primary and secondary arteries where innumerable marriage halls, restaurants, schools, hospitals and CNG
stations have already been set up on residential plots include North Nazimabad‘s main road, University Road, Sharah-i-
Pakistan, Tariq Road, Khalid Bin Waleed Road, New M.A. Jinnah Road, Ibne Hassan Jarchvi Road and another major link
road from Yaseenabad to the Aisha Manzil intersection.

Commercialisation in residential neighbourhoods has assumed such an alarming proportion that one can see a number of
houses located on both the primary and secondary arteries being demolished and replaced with multi-storied buildings with
commercial uses on the ground floor and apartments above.
(Dawn-15, 20/08/2007)



                                       Another blaze hits PNSC building
KARACHI, Aug 19: A fire raged through the 15-storey Pakistan National Shipping Corporation building on Sunday, leaving
at least two firefighters injured and destroying a large number of valuable documents.

The PNSC building, which was built in the early 1970s, has seen the second outbreak of a fire in seven months. The Feb
18 fire — believed to have been caused by a short circuit — destroyed official records of the National Engineering Services
of Pakistan. The PNSC manages a fleet of 14 ships.

Although no deaths were reported in Sunday‘s blaze, the PNSC building administration manager, Vijay Kumar Khatri,
suffered a massive heart attack as he helped the firefighters. He later died at a hospital.

A spokesman for the Pakistan Navy, Commander Salman Ali, told Dawn that engineer Adeel Ansari, working on a
communication tower on the rooftop, was airlifted to safety by a Sea King helicopter.

The chairman of the Karachi Port Trust, Vice Admiral Ahmad Hayat, said the blaze started on the fourth floor at around
2.15pm and swept to the tenth floor.

Pointing to the flames and thick black smoke billowing out of the building, he said foul play could not be discounted
because the February fire outbreak had also occurred on a Sunday.
He said a survey by the Karachi Building Control Authority would determine whether the building could be used again.

The Minister for Ports and Shipping, Babar Ghauri, said an inquiry would be instituted to determine the cause of Sunday‘s
blaze. He told a private television channel that President Gen Pervez Musharraf telephoned him to find out the latest of the
PNSC fire.

More than 100 firefighters, belonging to various civic agencies, sought to extinguish the fire. The newly acquired snorkels
were pressed into service and firefighters hosed the upper storeys of the burning building from three sides.
At least 21 fire engines of the city government and nine fire engines of the KPT, Pakistan Navy, Port Qasim Authority,
Clifton Cantonment Board and Defence Housing Authority took part in the operation.

The city government‘s chief fire officer, Ehtashamuddin, told Dawn that his team was assisting the Karachi Port Trust
because the area in which the PNSC building stood did not fall in their jurisdiction.
                                                            27
He blamed gusty winds, giant-sized power generators and a raised platform around the building for the slow pace of the
firefighting operation. He pointed out that the staircase in the building was so narrow that hardly two people could walk at a
time.

The chief fire officer‘s views were corroborated by auditor Sattar Rauf who, with a couple of colleagues, worked on the fifth
floor unaware of the fact that the building had been on fire.
―It was only when smoke poured out from the ventilation duct that I called the building staff only to be told that a fire was
raging in the building and I must leave it immediately. The building staff should have called people inside the building and
inform them about the fire. In any case, we ran for safety and realised that the staircase was so narrow that had it been a
working day, a large number of people would have lost their lives in a stampede,‖ he said.
He added that if the fire brigade had come on time – and if the fire had not looked deceptively small in the beginning – it
could have been easily extinguished.

Karachi Nazim Mustafa Kamal told Dawn that Karachi Port Trust fire engines had sought to put out the fire initially. ―But
they called for help when they realised the gravity of the situation. We have pooled our resources to fight what is definitely a
huge blaze,‖ he said.
(By S. Raza Hassan, Dawn-13, 20/08/2007)



                                    One dies as fire engulfs PNSC building
KARACHI: A huge fire broke out in the 15-storeyed Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) building – the second
this year – here on Sunday in which the manager administration lost his life while several others were injured.
The building, situated at Maulvi Tmizuddin Khan Road, houses offices of several multinationals and the Ministry of Ports
and Shipping. The fire started on the fourth floor and soon spread to other floors.

Vijay Kumar, 55, who was the manager administration of the PNSC building, died of cardiac arrest after inhaling heavy
smoke that had engulfed the area. According to sources, three persons identified as Sohail Abbas, Babar and Syed Zafar
Sultan were injured.

A Pakistan Navy helicopter rescued a man from the roof of the burning building. There were fears that others could be
trapped inside. Around 18 fire-fighters from the KPT, CDGK and Pakistan Navy took part in extinguishing the fire, which
was brought under control after hectic efforts. The cause of the fire was not immediately known. The earlier blaze in
February was blamed on an electrical short-circuit.
(By Salis bin Perwaiz, The News-1, 20/08/2007)



                               Heritage building saved from potential damage
KARACHI, Aug 20: Alterations to an 81-year-old heritage building, which the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS)
has just had vacated, were halted on Monday following prompt action by the provincial advisory committee for heritage
buildings.

Declared protected in 1996 under the Sindh Cultural Heritage Preservation Act, the Haribhai Pragji Karia High School
building is located on Chand Bibi Road behind the Civil Hospital Karachi and was built in 1926 by a local philanthropist. The
school moved out after partition and the building lay abandoned for some time, after which it was given to the Civil Hospital
Karachi which established a Doctors‘ Mess there. Last week, however, the DUHS – which appears to own the premises –
had this building and the Dow Medical College boys‘ hostel vacated to prevent any repercussions to the killing of a Sindh
Medical College student last Wednesday.

According to DUHS officials, the Doctors‘ Mess had been encroached upon by ―outsiders‖ and ―illegal occupants‖ and the
university administration called paramilitary Rangers to have the premises vacated and ensure security.
On Monday, officials of the advisory committee for cultural heritage received information about ―some activity‖ in the
Doctors‘ Mess and subsequently found construction workers dismantling a structure on the premises, while a labourer
erected bamboos across the façade of the once beautiful stone building.
In response to Dawn‘s queries, the construction workers said that they did not know their employers‘ plans. ―We are only
doing what we‘ve been asked,‖ said one.

Reportedly, the alteration work was noticed by some citizens who, being aware of the value of heritage buildings, informed
officials of the advisory committee. The authorities sent a team of the Karachi Building Control Authority which concluded
that certain portions, which bear no relationship to the original structure, were being dismantled.
―DUHS officials told the KBCA team that the activity aimed to improve the building‘s outer portions,‖ said a member of the
advisory committee. However, he pointed out that regardless of intention, such activities at a heritage site are illegal unless
permitted by the advisory committee, an autonomous body formed in 1994 through a provincial assembly‘s act. ―The
advisory committee could permit such work if it becomes inevitable or enhances the beauty of a heritage building,‖ he
added.

The Haribhai Pragji Karia High School building is located in front of the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation and
the advisory committee has approached the provincial health department to disclose the building‘s status and hand it over
to the SIUT. ―We have written to the health department about handing this building over, for which the SIUT management is
ready to protect the originality of the building,‖ said Dr Kaleemullah Lashari, one of the seven members of the heritage
advisory committee.

That the building is sorely in need of a patron is evident from its currently dilapidated condition. Its sewerage system has
collapsed and the seeping sewage is weakening the structure. The water pipes are in a similarly precarious condition, and
the building‘s original colour and texture have all but vanished. The broken doors, windows and thick layers of dust are
evidence of its recent occupants/custodians‘ attitude yet the structure soldiers on, its façade reminiscent of its once
statuesque past.
(By Hasan Mansoor, Dawn-17, 21/08/2007)
                                                              28
                                  KBCA puts off inspection of PNSC building
The survey regarding the inspection of the PNSC building, and its condition after seven floors were completely engulfed by
a huge fire on Sunday, has been delayed. The officials of the Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) put off the
inspection due to what they termed to be the prevalence of un-conducive conditions.

According to a reliable source, a team of KBCA officials visited the PNSC building on Monday but they could not carry out
the inspection survey due to various kinds of hindrances. ―The floors were still red hot and it was impossible to go inside
and conduct a detailed survey regarding the loss that the building has suffered,‖ he explained. ―Moreover, the power supply
of the building has been cut off while the debris of the burnt furniture has also created obstacles as they were not
removed,‖ he continued, adding, ―It will, therefore, be difficult to say anything about the structure of the building.‖ He,
however, said that the inspection team would visit the PNSC building again on Tuesday.

He said that only once the debris was removed and the affected floors cooled down, could they get in and inspect the
material to determine whether or not the same should be demolished. As far as the structure of the building is concerned,
he said, they would check for both external and internal losses. He explained that they would inspect the plaster that has
come off the walls for external loss while the foundation (inner structure) would be inspected for the internal loss which
determines whether the building could sustain itself or not.
He said that the inspection survey would be conducted by the KBCA‘s ‗committee for dangerous buildings‘ and other
inspection engineers while a foreign consultancy would also be taken in this regard. Asked about the cause of the fire, he
said it would also be disclosed once the report is prepared.

Saying that a high-level inquiry had been initiated in this case, he declined to comment on the possibility that the fire could
have been a deliberate attempt to achieve a particular objective. Referring to the fire that broke out in the same building
almost six months back, he said that they advised the building administration in their report to demolish the 11th floor. But
he was not sure if it was done. When asked if the delay would have an impact on the inquiry, he refused to comment,
saying that their job is to prepare a report which would speak for itself.
(By Farooq Baloch, The News-13, 21/08/2007)



                                          Another fire in PNSC building
                                     Fire, unlike lightning, does strike twice
The huge fire that broke out in the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) building, leaving one dead and three
injured, completely gutted seven floors of the structure. The fire was contained at the 11th floor at last report. Four snorkels
and 22 fire tenders of the City District Government Karachi (CDGK), Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and Pakistan Navy (PN) were
called on to extinguish the fire on Sunday.

Fifteen fire tenders and three snorkels belonged to the CDGK, three fire tenders and one snorkel to the KPT and four fire
tenders were of the PN.

Scores of people gathered around the building after the fire broke out at about 2p.m. on the fourth floor of the 16-storey
high-rise. There were also ambulances from different organisations at the site.

Security personnel also reached the spot and cordoned off the area around the building. Fire tenders from CDGK, KPT and
PN worked jointly to extinguish the fire that had reached up to the 10th floor till the filing of this report.
Eyewitnesses told The News that the fire broke out at about 2p.m. However, KPT and CDGK officials said that they
received information at about 2:24. Ambulances of KPT, Edhi, Chippa and KKF rushed to the spot and shifted the injured to
the nearby hospitals.

Interestingly, the KPT and CDGK had been pinning the responsibility of extinguishing the blaze on each other. Chairman
KPT Vice Admiral Ahmed Hayat said that it was the responsibility of the CDGK, while City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal said
his department was only there for help, ―for it‘s the responsibility of KPT to control the fire there.‖ Poor coordination
between the three agencies could be witnessed from the fact that all the three worked in different portions of the building.

A senior fire officer told The News that, as per standard, the chief fire officer of the agency in whose jurisdiction the building
is located, leads all other agencies, maintaining that the building in question falls in the CDGK‘s jurisdiction. Sources
revealed that the CDGK snorkels that were claimed to be able to reach as high as 120 feet, could not work efficiently owing
to some technical fault. As a result, they said, the fire engulfed other floors. However, only the KPT snorkel was able to
reach up to 85 feet.

Fire fighters from the KPT said that they rushed the spot within three minutes of the call. Two of the KPT firemen, who
initiated the operation, said that they entered the building after breaking the doors and utilised the building‘s own fire
fighting equipment.

However, they said, the building hydrants ran short of water. One of them said that the wind was blowing with a high
velocity which led the blaze to spread quickly and engulf the upper floors. He said that the staffers told them that there was
a short circuit in the AC wiring, but the real cause had not yet been officially confirmed.
A senior fire officer of the KPT, on condition of anonymity, told The News that the condition of the building‘s fire fighting
system was not up to required standards.

According to him, a building with a height of more than 75 feet is considered a high-rise and should be equipped with a self-
sufficient fire fighting system but this was not the case with the PNSC structure. Normal fire tenders, he added, could not
work over the seventh floor. He further said that such a building should have fire detection system (fire sensors) and
alarms, which the building didn‘t have, because none of the staff came to know about the eruption of the fire on time. By the
time they became aware of the situation, it was quite late.

According to sources, the fire has been brought under control. However, it would take time to completely put out the blaze.
(By Farooq Baloch, The News-13, 20/08/2007)

                                                               29
                                                     WHODUNNIT?
KARACHI: A Pakistan National Shipping Corporation‘s (PNSC) employee has died in a sixteen-storey blaze that broke out
in the afternoon at the corporation‘s 17-floor building Sunday.

PNSC Administrative Manager Vijay Kumar, 45, was according to some reports, standing by the building when the fire
broke out; he suffered a heart attack. He was taken to Civil Hospital Karachi and then to a private hospital.
The building was gutted in the massive blaze that started at 2:15 p.m. on the fourth floor. This is the second fire in six
months with the first one taking place on Feb 18 this year.

More than eighteen fire trucks and four snorkels from the city fire brigade and Karachi Port Trust were immediately called to
the scene as Federal Minister for Shipping Babar Khan Ghouri, City Nazim Mustafa Kamal, Pakistan Navy Commander
Salman and other officials got there. An engineer with Warid Telecom identified as Ansari, who had been doing repair work,
was rescued from the rooftop by a navy helicopter.

The screams of ambulance sirens reverberated across Native Jetty bridge where crowds had assembled. Ghouri told the
press that it could have been sabotage by ―terrorists‖ and it needed to be investigated. Chief of Police Azhar Ali Farooqui
said that if anyone expressed any doubt then the police would register an FIR but otherwise they would not investigate the
incident. The police had arrived on the scene only because the fire fighters needed help controlling the crowd. Rangers
jawans, already posted there for security, helped provide backup.

The first fire broke out on February 18 from the 11th to 16th floors. The multinational companies moved away and the floors
had since been empty. In the first blaze, that lasted 19 hours, six people were pulled out alive. The building was built in
1973.

Three fire fighters from different departments, the Pakistan Navy and CDGK, were reported injured during rescue work and
were rushed to Civil hospital. Others were struggling to extinguish the blaze at 8:00 p.m. when this report was filed.

Two men, Riaz Rafiq and Azhar Afzal, told Daily Times that they had been on their way to Sea View to spend their day off,
but when they heard about the fire, went to Native Jetty bridge. Furthermore, one of the city government‘s newly acquired
snorkels malfunctioned during the operation.

Agencies add: CDGK Deputy Chief Fire Officer Naeem Yousuf said that the fire broke out on the third and fourth floors.
Gusty winds made the operation harder.

According to Ghouri the fire could have been caused by an electrical short circuit and the damage was so bad that the
building may have to be demolished. Volunteers saved some of the records of MCB Bank at the ground floor and offices at
the first floor. The window panes of all six floors were also destroyed. Two severe gas cylinder blasts created panic,
witnesses said.
(By Faraz Khan, DailyTimes-B1, 20/08/2007)



                                       Mismanagement in our mega-cities
Careful urban planning is vital for any large city around the world. The socio-economic implications of mismanaged urban
planning are varied, yet they all contribute to creating the disgruntled and disparate environment increasingly evident in
large cities, particularly in the developing world.

Unfortunately, cities in resource-constrained parts of the world are not planned keeping in mind the needs of poor and
lower middle class urban residents. The resulting problems due to this neglect include insufficient public transport facilities,
the lack of adequate sanitation and drainage facilities, and inadequate housing. Moreover, commercialisation of urban
areas in developing countries has been fuelling an assertive eviction of poorer communities from within city centres. Two
cities can be looked at as examples of this: Karachi and Mumbai.

According to the Urban Resource Centre, nearly 400,000 acres of the 425,000 that make up the metropolitan area of
Karachi are in some form of public ownership. It is the provincial government or the Karachi Local and Metropolitan
Development Authorities which are making this public land available to private developers, cooperative societies and
individuals for construction purposes. While these government authorities do set aside land for social usage and physical
infrastructure development, commercial ventures find it easy to acquire public spaces.

Poor people encroach upon public space by putting up shops or squatter settlements wherever they please. Area studies
seem to suggest that katchi abadis now constitute nearly fifty percent of the resident population of Karachi. The problem of
housing the homeless residents of Karachi is indeed a serious one. Over the years, the government has initiated a number
of housing policies and projects for Karachi. However, the end product has never reached or benefited poor people whose
needs constitute over 60 per cent of the housing demand. Besides the supply being far too small compared to the demand,
the procedures for acquiring land and credit for building houses are also long and cumbersome, and often fall prey to
corruption.

More recently however, the number of temporary houses in the city has been decreasing and the quality of housing is seen
to be improving. The reason for this is in part attributable to the policy decision of providing security of tenure to squatter
settlements on government lands, which have been in existence since before 1985.It is also because smaller contractors
are now providing materials on credit to katchi abadi residents. This is coupled with an increasing availability of technical
assistance available for these residents while designing and building their houses.

However, the katchi abadis established before 1985 have been expanding and becoming denser and it is proving to be
difficult for the Karachi government to prevent or regularise this trend. As manufacturing units are increasingly relocated to
the suburbs, the working classes and the poor are automatically cleansed from the high-end business and financial districts
of large cities. In the case of Mumbai, for example, there is a noticeable pattern over the past decade of ex-textile workers
and slum dwellers migrating from central areas of Mumbai to north Mumbai and its outlying suburbs.

                                                              30
The slum policies of the state government are said to have come full circle in Mumbai. In the 1950s, slum demolition was
common, but criticised on humanitarian grounds. In reaction, the 1960s and 1970s witnessed a policy of up gradation of
slums. The 1990s emphasised the redevelopment of slums through commercial apartment construction and relocation and
redevelopment where necessary. The state government has now returned to the policy of forced demolitions and evictions,
especially in central Mumbai, where the mill lands are located. The changed policies of the state government in promoting
the sale of mill lands indicates that welfare-centred rhetoric has now been forgotten and more coercive aspects of state
policy towards the poor are surfacing.

Many housing activists in Mumbai have suspected that the deindustrialisation of central Mumbai and the removal of the
working class from that region were probably on the agenda of the planning boards as early as the mid-1980s. Both state
and central governments have facilitated this flow of financial and real estate investment, transforming themselves into
instruments that attract foreign and domestic investment through developing offshore financial facilities, as the state
becomes increasingly subordinate to the economy in the era of liberalisation.

Disempowered trade unions after a failed textile workers strike in Mumbai have been able to offer only limited resistance to
the dismantling of both working and residential spaces. Even non-governmental organisations that purportedly empower
slum dwellers, street hawkers and other urban poor are seen to support the relocation of slum dwellers to the outskirts of
Mumbai. Such NGOs are not accountable to the people they represent, and have been criticized for indirectly working to
accomplish the McKinsey 2010 target of reducing slum-dwellings in Mumbai to 10 per cent of the population, by helping to
push poverty out of sight.

Access to land is undoubtedly an important issue in cities like Karachi or Mumbai. There is a constant struggle to acquire
land through legal or illegal means. Poor people residing in an area acquired for development often refuse to relocate and
then are either bribed or forcefully removed.

A powerful nexus between formal sector developers, politicians and bureaucrats, manages to make most vacant land
available to them. In addition, government land and properties are sold at throwaway prices as political patrons and
developers hurriedly piece together lucrative ‗joint ventures‘ with those who have acquired public land to make exorbitant
profits. Due to their connections with the power brokers, developers are also able to violate bye-laws and zoning
regulations, and even build upon natural drainage channels and infrastructure reservations. Areas reserved for other
necessary amenities are also converted into residential and commercial development and as a result, the public loses
precious amenity space which was meant to accommodate much needed parks and playgrounds, educational institutions,
medical facilities and transport related facilities. This makes life in big cities increasingly claustrophobic for everyone, be
they rich or poor.
(By Syed Mohammad Ali, DailyTimes-A7, 21/08/2007)



                                     KBCA team to inspect PNSC building
KARACHI, Aug 22: A seven-member team of the Karachi Building Control Authority will inspect the fire-devastated building
of the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation on Thursday.

KBCA chief Rauf Akhter Farooqi, who heads the team, told Dawn that the status of the 16-storey building would be
determined after its inspection by the team.

The PNSC building on Sunday had caught fire for the second time in six months. The latest blaze started out on the fourth
floor and reached the tenth floor causing severe damage to the building.

The KBCA chief said the team had gone to inspect the building, constructed in 1958 by a Turkish company, but they were
not allowed to enter the building by the security personnel.
―We will visit the building tomorrow (Thursday). Let us examine it, then we will be in a position to determine its status and
the damage caused by the fire,‖ he said.

Meanwhile, sources said the people who were present in the PNSC building when the fire broke out were being interviewed
by the investigators.
(Dawn-19, 23/08/2007)



                                    Back to square one for Defence, Clifton
Residents of DHA and Clifton areas were, once again, restricted to their homes due to inundated roads. While home, they
were busy taking precautionary measures because of the water flowing into their premises after moderate to heavy rains
lashed the city on Wednesday.

The residents complained that they were without electricity, facing a shortage of drinking water as well as broken sewerage
lines, while traffic, too, has been suspended in most of the areas. Officials of the DHA and CBC say that water-draining
operation is in progress as they have deployed machinery and sanitary workers in the affected areas, adding, the situation
would improve in the next 24 hours if there is no further rain.

Contradicting the claims of the DHA and CBC, the residents of Defence and Clifton complained that despite the week-long
water-draining operation and setting up of makeshift drains by the two authorities, the sewerage system in DHA and Clifton
Cantonment Board areas has virtually collapsed once again owing to the heavy downpour.

Residents complained that the makeshift drainage arrangement didn‘t serve its purpose as knee-deep water was standing
right in front of their homes and in some cases also flowing into their houses.

Residents said that calls made on the complaint numbers issued by the DHA went unheeded and most of them had to
make their own arrangements to drain out water from their houses. In most instances, residents of Phase 1, Phase 5 and 6

                                                             31
phoned the offices of The News to say that they could not leave their homes owing to flooded roads. However, no CCB or
DHA staffers were seen trying to clear the mess.

The areas that are particularly badly hit are Khayaban-e-Seher, Khayban-e-Rahat and Khayaban-e-Shahbaz, Khayaban-e-
Tauheed, Khayaban-e-Baddar and Khadda Market. Also inundated are Badar Commercial Area, Saba Avenue and
commercial areas of Phase 1. Many areas of Phase 1 are also inundated.

Many calls were received from different areas of Defense with similar problems while a resident of Clifton Block-4 said that
the service lanes in the surroundings of Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim have been flooded with rainwater due to which they have been
unable to move anywhere.

When contacted, DHA spokesperson Col. Naqvi said that the drainage system has been badly affected due to heavy
downpour, adding, the DHA staff has been continuously working to repair it. He said that DHA has deployed de-watering
equipment to pump out water from low-lying areas badly affected by the downpour. He admitted that the areas in Phase 5
and 6 were the most affected as water remained accumulated there for more than a week, adding, these areas were on
their priority. He said that necessary equipment has already been deployed in these areas and intensive pumping was
going on, adding that the machinery given by the CDGK has been taken back but they are doing their best to drain out the
accumulated water.

When asked if there was a fault in the design of DHA drainage system, he admitted that there were flaws in the DHA
master plan as it was constructed in a haphazard manner. According to him, DHA is located at the tale end of the city and
the most affected areas, especially Phase 5 and 6, lie below sea level. Therefore, the drainage capacity of the present
setup is not up to the mark. He said they have now reserved sufficient funds to redesign the drainage system of DHA once
the rains are over. He, however, added that it would take time as the process requires studies and research work.

CBC spokesman Khadim Hussain said that their workers and machinery were working at Khayaban-e-Shamsheer, Rahat,
Khadda Market, 26th Street and other affected areas, adding that last rains were very heavy and few of their motors broke
down, which had caused a delay. He said that there was a problem in drainage, especially at 26th Street, Tauheed and
Phase 8, but hoped that the situation would be brought under control. When asked why the complaint centres were not
responding, he said their main complaint centre was active round the clock but other centres have some problems as some
of the phone lines that broke down were being repaired.
(By Farooq Baloch, The News-13, 23/08/2007)



                              Schools being used as marriage halls returned
The chain of Government Delhi Schools, boys and girls secondary, Higher, Secondary, and Primary School, was handed
over to its original owner, the Delhi Anglo-Arabic College and School Old Boys‘ Association on the orders of the Sindh High
Court (SHC) on Monday. Hitherto it was being run by City District Government as a marriage hall, for the last so many
years, according to Professor Razi-ur-Rahman, Principal of the College who was talking to The News.

The School which was nationalised during the Bhutto era in 1974, was given to the government under an agreement signed
both by Old boys Association with the condition, that this institution would be run under Public-Private partnership and the
government would be tenant of the school.

Defying the agreement, the government, he said, not only occupied the library of the schools but took over control over the
office of Old Boys‘ Association. The building was state of art of education institution when it was handed over to the
government but now was ruined by city government, he alleged.

Keeping in view the deteriorating situation both in terms of standard of education and using school premises spread at 4
acre of land with 7500 students studying, for non-teaching purpose, the association decided to move court two years before
and finally the verdict came in favour of the association both from Supreme Court and Sindh High Court.
He further informed that about three hundred thousand were over due with the EDO and that also would be paid in couple
of period as ordered by the court. He alleged that EDO was misusing the school premises and it was run for only two hours
in both morning and afternoon shift, thus violating established norms of educational institutions. While rest of the hours, it
was used as tuition centre privately run by EDO.

Unfortunately, he said building presenting a haunted look, as it was neither maintained nor renovated by the government.
‗Now two hundred thousand rupees, were required for its repair‘ and would not be open in this session‘.

About accommodation of students and teachers who ever willing to learn and teaching would surely be welcomed, he said.
Giving the history of the school, he said personalities like, Justice Qadeeruddin, Justice Haziq-ul-Khairi, Justice Zahoor-ul-
Haq; Justice Neem remained the students of the school, while Justice Qadeeruddin remained Vice President for 30 years.
The School has the history of some 500 years, he said, and it was established in 1949 in the city.

The sitting President of the Association, BAshir Khan sadly stated that school which contributed its role in education, was
now in decaying condition, standard of education was also deteriorated, once the school which was among the top position
holder with 78% result of matric, was terribly under devastating situation.
(By Shamim Bano, The News-14, 23/08/2007)



                                                     Living in DHA
KARACHI: What was wrong with living in our ancestral house that had no electricity, piped water, or natural gas? There
were lanterns and lamps that lit the rooms, food was cooked on a fire made with wood or coal and water for cooking,
washing and drinking came in buckets from the well in front of the house.

During summer, we slept on charpoys spread in the courtyard and in winter kept ourselves warm by burning coal in fancy
angethis! To ward off the vexing mosquitoes, we slept inside mosquito netting.
                                                             32
There was no radio, television and computers; only people and books to give company. Life was without stress and we
went to bed without taking sleeping pills.
It has been a long trek since. From Azimabad, Patna in India to Chittagong, to Karachi, and in Karachi from Jehangir Road
to Nazimabad to Gulshan-i-Iqbal to Askari Apartments, finally reaching the zenith of comfortable living by being able to
acquire a bungalow in that finest of fine localities: the Defence Housing Authority.

Here, at last, one would live an impressive social life, a civilised life. One would rub shoulders with the high and mighty;
would invite people who mattered, who ran the show, the country.

Suddenly, one humid afternoon, Mother Nature decided to put us affluent inhabitants of DHA in our place. We were happy
and secure in our imposing dwellings built on 1,000 and 500 square yard plots, the giant generators taking over whenever
KESC decided to play hide and seek. We thought we were impregnable.

This impregnability was shattered by a few inches of rain. We woke up to find our streets turned into canals. Dirty storm-
water mingled with clean water in the underground tanks. Countless expensive cars stood in the driveway unable to
venture out. Those that did were stuck in the deluge and conked off. Our children could not go to schools and colleges. The
telephone was dead, the cable snapped and the TV screen went blank.

The mali, the masi and the driver did not report for duty. Our designer furniture, expensive carpets and other possessions
were ruined. We, the denizens of the DHA, were now at par with the impoverished fellow citizens of Orangi, Korangi, Malir
and Landhi. For want of an appropriate verse, a cynic like yours truly could only bring to mind the famous saying: Marg-i-
ambooh jashn daarad.

Postscript: At the moment we are witnessing strange scenes from our terrace: the DHA, CBC and city government
authorities are digging canals to carry unwanted water to the Arabian Sea, accumulated water being pumped out from one
plot of land to another, then to yet another, finally to the ‗canals,‘ in addition to water being filled in tankers and taken to
God-knows-where for disposal.
As a sideshow, there are abrupt closures of roads to test the patience of motorists. The place looks like a devastated area
after some military action.
(By S. M. Shahid, Dawn-19, 24/08/2007)



                      Residents decry inaction of DHA and CBC, demand inquiry
Residents of Defence Housing Authority and areas under the Cantonment Board Clifton on Thursday have demanded that
an inquiry be conducted into the affairs of these organizations as they are ―accountable to no one.‖

They complained that very nominal dewatering operations took place in their areas by the concerned civic agencies despite
the fact that it was a clear day and that work should have been undertaken on an emergency basis.
They told The News that almost no CBC or DHA employees could be seen on site and most operations were being carried
out in areas where DHA and CBS staff reside. Also, de-watering operations were carried out in military areas or where
military colonies are located within DHA, they alleged.

Within a period of a fortnight, residents, of the DHA and Clifton, Cantonment Board have faced flood-like situation, resulting
in loss of property, unhygienic surroundings, and immobility due to inundated roads.

Commercial concerns have equally suffered the brunt of this negligence resulting in loss of sales as well as property,
claims the Defence Society Residents Association (DSRA).

On behalf of the residents of DHA Karachi, the DSRA said that it would like the President, Secretary Defence, Director
General Military Lands and Cantonment, and the Governing Body of the Defence Housing Authority to take into account
that the recent flooding of residential and commercial areas in the DHA was not due to some natural phenomenon, as
Lahore and Islamabad receive a lot more rains than Karachi, and one does not see pictures of suffering from DHA Lahore
of Islamabad, after only a couple of rainy days.
―The disaster was purely due to the negligence of the managers of this area,‖ the DSRA claimed.

Regarding some of the causes behind the flooding, it said that the main reason was the lack of utilization of sophisticated
expertise in planning and designing of sewerage and rainwater drainage system in the DHA Karachi.

Moreover, usage of cheap materials and faulty equipment like second hand pumps and borrowed generators was another
reason behind this situation.
―The absence of financial transparency in the affairs of the DHA and the Cantonment Board is another major reason in
addition taxation with representation,‖ it stated.

The residents of DHA Karachi and areas under the Cantonment Board Clifton have also demanded an inquiry into the
affairs and the resulting failures of all the DHA and CBC.
The panel of inquiry must include outside professionals and the representatives of the residents, and the enquiry should be
made public. They also demanded that immediate release of annual financial statements audited by reputable auditors, of
all the Authorities concerned, and they should be made part of the public record, and the readily available to the residents.

Residents say that this should be made part of the requirements every year, as practiced by all the public concerns in the
country.

Many people contacted by The News also demanded that a survey must be conducted to determine the losses suffered by
the affected residents and arrangement be made to compensate them for those losses.

After the completion of the enquiry, reputed consultants should be hired to rectify the infrastructure problems inherent in the
DHA, and proper equipment be purchased to deliver, as expected by highest tax-payers of the country, namely the
residents of DHA Karachi, they said.

                                                              33
At the same time, a DHA media release on Thursday contradicted the news item published in a section of press alleging
that tankers dedicated to transporting drinking water were being used by DHA in its ongoing drainage operation.

The statement said that DHA Horticulture Department has a fleet of bowsers used for irrigation purposes. The same is
being used for the drainage of standing rainwater from DHA localities. Sludge water bowsers of CBC are also extensively
being employed for the operation.
(The News-14, 24/08/2007)



                          Playground’s conversion into shopping plaza stayed
KARACHI, Aug 24: The Sindh High Court stayed on Friday conversion of the five-acre Webb playground in the Lines Area
and issued notices in a petition challenging it for Aug 28.
The advocate-general and non-governmental organization Shehri were also issued notices by a division bench consisting
of Justices Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Ali Sain Dino Metlo.

The respondents issued notices are: the city district government, the Lines Area redevelopment project, the Karachi
Building Control Authority, the provincial environment secretary, the Army Welfare Trust, and Makro-Habib Pakistan
Limited.

Petitioner-lawyer Mahfoozun Nabi Khan submitted that there was shortage of parks and playgrounds in Karachi but
nowhere more acute than in the Lines Area. The entire population of 250,000 residents — the neighborhood now known as
Gulshan-i-Zahoor — has no open space except Webb playing field where students, youth and children play cricket, football
and other sports.

The locality, he emphasized, consists of residential plots of 45 square yards with only 14 feet wide streets. It is highly
congested and stands in greater need of parks and ground.

However, the respondents were bent upon depriving the locality of its only ground. The ground had recently been forcibly
occupied by the Army Welfare Trust and their lessee, M/s Makro Habib, in connivance with the city district government to
convert the ground into a prestigious commercial complex. The commercialization would adversely affect the environment
not only of the Lines Area but also of the adjoining areas. There was no efficacious remedy except to invoke the writ
jurisdiction of the high court.

Besides recreational and environmental consideration, the ground being an old amenity plot cannot be converted into a
commercial complex under the law declared by successive judgments of superior courts. Columnist Ardeshir Cowasjee and
the NGO Shehri were supporting the residents‘ struggle to protect and preserve the playground but an urgent judicial order
was essential to pre-empt the respondents from doing an irreversible harm. He moved a stay application in the petition and
issuing notices for Aug 28, the division bench ordered the respondents to maintain status quo in the meantime.

The bench said in its order: ―Prima facie, it appears that there is a playground known as ‗Webb Ground‘ located in the Lines
Area which perhaps has been sought to be commercialized by the CDGK. In the circumstances of the case, we would
direct the respondents to maintain the status quo‖.
(By Shujaat Ali Khan, Dawn-17, 25/08/2007)



                       Ban sought on new residential projects within Cantt, DHA
ISLAMABAD, Aug 24: The Senate Standing Committee on Defence on Friday recommended the imposition of a ban on the
development of further residential schemes or lands within Karachi Cantonment‘s limits.
The ban shall also apply to the Defence Housing Authority‘s further development projects.
This was announced by Chairman of the Standing Committee Nisar A. Memon while presiding over a meeting of the
committee held here in the Parliament House.

Senate Deputy Chairman Mir Jan Mohammad Jamali, Senators Syed Dilawar Abbas, Professor Khurshid Ahmed and
Naeem Hussain Chatta attended the meeting as members of the committee.

Additional Secretary Defence Major-Gen Mir Haider Ali Khan and senior officers from the DHA and Cantonment Board
gave detailed briefings to the committee.

Senator Memon said that both the civic bodies -- Cantonment Board Karachi and DHA Karachi -- should undertake a
comprehensive plan for storm-water drainage in their respective areas.
He set a one month deadline for the submission of the plan to the committee, delay of which would be considered as
violation of the rules of the committee.
He said the ban on further development of residential areas was meant to provide an opportunity to the DHA and
Cantonment Board to first strengthen the infrastructure of the areas under their respective control.

Senator Memon directed the DHA to immediately convene meetings of the representatives of the inhabitants of its housing
schemes and suggest remedies to their grievances.
―(The) meeting(s) should be convened within a week‘s time (and) remedial measures (should) be taken accordingly,‖ he
said.

The committee proposed a number of measures to help improve the performance of the Cantonment Board and DHA, such
as demarcation of their boundaries significantly separating them from the Karachi city government and a clear-cut definition
of the CDGK‘s work and area of responsibilities.

Senator Memon said that there should be a comprehensive policy to check any hazards to the lives of the workforce,
especially of the lower grades, in their respective jurisdictions.

                                                            34
The committee observed that both bodies should come up with steps required to improve their services.The intervention of
the committee was sought so that the proposed ban on the fresh induction in the military land and cantonments group
through the public service commission be lifted with the aim to strengthen the second tier of the service which, according to
them, was weakened due to the presence of the ban for the last five years.

Senator Memon directed the officials of the DHA to submit a report directly to him within 48 hours in the case of one Farhat
Ali, whose plot was allegedly acquired by the DHA.
(Dawn-17, 25/08/2007)



                                 KBCA examines PNSC building’s strength
KARACHI, Aug 24: A seven-member inspection committee of the Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) was finally
allowed on Friday to inspect the fire-ravaged building of the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) to ascertain its
status as a foreign forensic expert concluded his probe into the probable cause of a fire that had broken out on Aug 19.

According to sources, the forensic expert interviewed eight more people who were present in the building when the fire
broke out and also cross-examined some of the already interrogated people.
They said that the expert collected samples from the debris and had also photographed several parts of the building. The
expert was scheduled to leave the country on Friday night and he would submit his report after forensic examination of the
collected samples, the sources said.

The KBCA chief Rauf Akhtar Farooqui, who heads the inspection committee, told Dawn that the committee members would
meet on Saturday to reach a consensus on the issue.
―We have thoroughly examined all fire-hit floors of the building and an initial inspection report would be prepared in two or
three days‖, he added.

KBCA chief said they had reached the PNSC building around 11:30am and continued the inspection till 1:45pm along with
Dr A.Q. Alvi , who had designed the building‘s structure.

The KBCA investigation team included two structural engineers, Siddique Isa and Arif Qasim, two architects, Mohammed
Sami from the Pakistan Engineering Council, KBCA building controller Mohammed Arif and KBCA building structure
controller, Mohammed Shafique.
Mr Farooqui, however, said that the KBCA team would require another inspection of the site after the removal of the debris
and the water accumulated during the fire-fighting efforts after which the strength of the building would be examined with
various equipment including electronic hammers.

One of the members of the KBCA committee, who wished to remain anonymous, told Dawn that the building was
apparently in good shape despite the devastating fire. ―No column bulging or buckling was observed,‖ he added.
He said that the KBCA team neither observed any tilting in the main members, nor were there any structure cracks.
―Apparently the building is not losing weight as no loading effect was observed‖, he said.

However, he said, the building required heavy repair work as the plaster of ceilings of some floors was broken due to
intense heat but the steel in the ceilings did not melt.

The KBCA inspection committee member said that the designer of the building, who was with them during inspection, also
appeared satisfied with the strength of the building.SP Keamari Town Kamran Fazal, representing the city police in the joint
investigation team, said that the foreign expert grilled people in the presence of the team members and we would re-
examine all of them.

The SP said that investigation team was taking into consideration all the aspects of the outbreak of the fire, which was
second in the past six months.
―Since both incidents took place on Sundays when the building was almost empty, a proper investigation into the recent fire
incidents was required to see whether it was an accident or an intentional attempt‖, he added.
(Dawn-19, 25/08/2007)



                          Ramps in high-rises indispensable for special people
City Naib-Nazim Nasreen Jalil has said that a ramp was essential in all high-rise buildings for handicapped people under
the Building and Town Planning Regulations 2002, Chapter 9.
She said this while addressing a seminar held here for special people, titled, ―Show you care.‖ (SYC). She stressed that
toilets and elevators should have ramps for special people who were in large number all over the country.

The Naib-Nazim underlined the need for special parking lots for the handicapped people and said these people played an
important role in development of the country and thus should not be neglected.
She said the government could frame laws in this regard but it was the duty of the people to implement such laws. She said
that the city government would welcome all recommendations to facilitate these people at all levels.
Jalil said that if the laws are strictly enforced, these people could play an important role in its progress.

Highlights of the seminar included a documentary emphasising the needs and problems faced by the physically challenged
people followed by the introductory presentation by the SYC members and a motivational speech by Sarmad Tariq. Also at
the seminar a panel discussion was held on the issue of public, civic, and humanitarian importance. The panel discussion
moderated by Ayesha Haq was attended by, among others, Bashir Jan Mohammad, Hussain Lotia, Barrister Shahida
Jamil, Farooq-uz-Zaman, Farhat Rasheed, Aziz Memon, Shahid Abdullah, Dr Ejaz Vohra, Shireen Naqvi, Zulfiqar Ali.

Special recognition awards were given to the people who made an effort to realise the need of constructing wheel-chair
friendly buildings.
(The News-14, 26/08/2007)
                                                            35
                               Rains give much-needed facelift to Chaukandi
KARACHI, Aug 26: While the heavy rains that lashed Karachi in the past couple of weeks have brought miseries to its
residents owing to the failure and mismanagement of the civic agencies, the showers have worked wonders for the stone
carvings at the Chaukandi graveyard.

The beautiful stone carved designs on the graves in Chaukandi, located at the fringes of the city along the National
Highway, used to present a dull look owing to poor upkeep and maintenance. However, when this reporter visited the
protected heritage site recently, the tombs looked clean and more attractive than usual.

When an official of the federal archaeology department was asked whether the department, which is responsible for its
upkeep and security, had finally woken up and started taking its work seriously, he said that the department had not done
anything recently, but the beauty of the stones has come out due to the heavy rains that have cleaned the dust that had
settled in the delicate designs and carvings.
He, however, said that a restoration project was in the pipeline and the department planned to implement it as soon as it
was approved. He said that the department had earlier also implemented one such project under which similar graves in
the Taung graveyard, situated in the Khirthar National Park, were restored with financial assistance from the Sindh wildlife
department.

According to sources the Chaukandi tombs are generally attributed to Jokhio and Baloch tribes and were built between the
15th and 18th centuries. Chaukandi literally means the four corners. The tombs are built of yellow sandstone, which was
quarried from Jung Shahi in neighbouring Thatta district.
The most impressive tombs are the pyramidal structures. They are generally two-and-a-half feet wide, five to eight feet long
and four to 14ft high.

The geometric designs that cover the tombs are extraordinary. The intricate carving in the designs is unique and its
delicacy gives the impression of wood carving.

Sources said that the same designs are found in the textiles, pottery, jewellery and wood carvings in Sindh and
Balochistan.
The tombs of men are capped with stylised turbans and are occasionally carved with horses, arms and weapons. The
tombs of women are decorated mostly with jewellery such as anklets, bracelets, necklaces, rings and ear pendants.

The tombs, found only in Sindh and Balochistan, can be found along the Makran coast up to the Indus River and up the
river to Sehwan.

The most elaborately carved tombs are located at sites such as Hanidan, Lasbella and along the old trunk road at Malir,
Dunblottee, and Mirpur Sakro. Tombs have also been found on the east side of the Indus River at Gujjo, Thariba, Sonda
and Sehwan, the sources added.
(By Bhagwandas, Dawn-15, 27/08/2007)



                                            Khuda ki Basti: still waiting
Khuda Ki Basti — along with other suburban settlements of the city — has once again suffered during the spell of torrential
rains, which fell early this week.
The concerned quarters of Gadap and Surjani Towns, who have already been through a great deal of suffering during the
monsoons in June, said that another spell of heavy rains in the city will destroy their lives, homes and livestock.

Dilawar Khan, who has a hardware business in Khuda ki Basti, said the people of the area hoped that officials would take
notice of the destruction from the last rains to prevent such things from happening in the future. However, they never even
noticed. Khan feels that the officials don‘t think the people of the area are humans because they are poor.

Furthermore, residents told The News that the entire community has just one narrow lane to commute from Khuda ki Basti
to the rest of the city. Every time it rains, this road is always inundated with water as it is below ground level and situated
near the Lyari river.

The townspeople have to wait till the rainwater is evaporates in order to use the road. One of the commuters added that
some times, they use ropes to cross the flooded roads. However, this is quite risky as two people lost their lives recently
while they were trying to get across. The distraught residents blame the town and provincial administration for not paying
heed to the town‘s complaints. With more rains, this ignorance will only result in more casualties for the townspeople.
The people have demanded the construction of a concrete bridge at the edge of the said river belt between the Saiful
Murree Goth (Surjani Town) and Taiser Town (Khuda ki Basti) to avoid such mishaps and to facilitate the people of the
area.

The residents of Khuda ki Basti, Sector 34, Scheme 45 and Taiser Town, added that the local nazim and the administration
of Gadap Town, Union Council 5 is not helping them in this crisis. One resident, Habib-ur-Rehman, expressed his anger
over the alleged remarks by the local and town nazim, which are as follows: ―No vote for us, no cooperation for you (area
people).‖ According to Rehman, every vote of the area was cast in favour of the current local administration, as there was
no one else better than them. However, he added, they are being completely neglected because the area does not support
the administration‘s political party.

Even with all their complaints, the townspeople appreciate the full support of the local anzim, Surjani Town and New
Karachi Town. They added that he (the UC nazim) always helped with repairs for the bridge but this is only a temporary
solution. Talking about more issues related with rain, locals claimed that a major part of their problems is caused by the
dumper and truck mafia. The drivers have been excavating sand from the river and have made a ramp for traveling. Due to
this, the free flow of water is blocked which eventually leads to floods. Residents of the area have appealed for action
against the mafia.
(By M. Zeeshan Azmat, The News-19, 27/08/2007)

                                                             36
                                                Clifton residents’ woes
I AM a resident of Clifton, block III, supposedly a ‗prime area‘ of Karachi. Ever since the rain in the first week of August, my
street was flooded with waist-deep water. Part of the rainwater dried up naturally but as soon we started to feel relieved,
gutter water started pouring in with all its filth.

Then came the second bout of rain last week. Now there is knee - deep water. We are marooned in our house as no car
can be driven in this water, without causing much damage to it. My brother-in-law has sent us a van which five people in
our house use as a shuttle to continue our daily chore.
I have tried in vain to contact authorities. In fact, the KDA office is opposite my street. No one seems to know which
authority we are under. We are just orphans!

There is a lot in the papers and on TV about the work in the DHA but none in Clifton, though a large sum of money was
allocated for the Bath Island and Clifton.
The sweepers who are seen some time say that our water will never go as all the gutters have been cemented when the
Bin Qasim Park was built.
We could have done without the park as life has now become unliveable in the presence of water and choked gutters.
NAUSHABA ZUBERI
(Dawn-6, Letter to the Editor, 29/08/2007)



                                              Making DHA accountable
THE recent suo motu actions by the superior courts of the country to address the sufferings of the citizens are a welcome
step. The honourable courts are requested to take notice of the miseries of the residents of the DHA, Karachi, after the
recent rains.

Most of the area from 26th Street going towards the sea is submerged in filthy water with overflowing drains for the past 15
days and is now infested with all kinds of creeping crawlies.

Even the main roads are closed for traffic due to standing water, and residents of many streets are trapped in their houses
without water and electricity. The commercial areas are the worst hit, with flooded basements and parking lots, and schools
in phase VIII have been forced to declare holidays.

While the rest of the city recovered relatively quickly due to immediate action by the CDGK, the DHA‘s apathy and laziness
continues to haunt poor citizens in its jurisdiction. Its pathetic planning of roads, poor maintenance of drains and lack of
investment in machinery despite charging exorbitant property tax have exposed the level of incompetence and corruption in
the organisation.

The media‘s criticism of the CDGK and fear of the voter‘s accountability have forced the city nazim to take immediate
actions to address the problems in his domain. As the DHA‘s administration is run by retired and serving army personnel
and is not accountable to anyone, who should the residents of the DHA look to for resolution of their grievances?
FARID A. KHAN, Karachi
(Dawn-6, Letter to the Editor, 29/08/2007)



                                    Land mafia set to steal village’s identity
KARACHI, Aug 28: The announcement by the chief minister to convert Mullah Essa Brohi Goth, which was devastated by
this strong winds and rainstorm in June, into a model village has started to create problems for the villagers.
They allege that the land mafia, aided by certain officials of a civic agency and the local police, is trying to rob them of the
civic amenities that are to be provided to the village by the government by having another area declared as Essa Brohi
Goth.

Located in Union Council Songal of Gadap Town, Mullah Essa Brohi Goth was one of the numerous areas that were
seriously affected by the storm and heavy rains that uprooted and damaged many houses in the village.

Chief Minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim visited the village, situated at the fringes of the city near the new Sabzi Mandi off the
Super Highway, on June 28 and witnessing the damage caused by the natural calamities announced that it would be
developed as a model village.

The villagers and representatives of a non-governmental community-based organisation working in the village – Mullah
Mukhtar Ali, Abdul Latif, Faqir Mohammad, Ali Dost, Mahrum Ali, Peer Bux Channa, and others – told Dawn that after the
announcement a land mafia group, supported by government officials, are trying to get another piece of land declared as
Mullah Essa Goth so that it could be developed at the government‘s expense and they could make a windfall.

The villagers alleged that after the announcement the area police, which was supporting the land-grabbers, was
threatening them to vacate the village and shift elsewhere and false cases were being registered against them, while they
were not even allowed to repair their damaged houses.
The area police have been ordered not to get involved in land matters by their superiors, yet the villagers claimed they were
still being harassed.

The villagers said that Mullah Essa Goth was an old village and many villagers had national identity cards dating back to
1979, which showed their residence as the goth. Their names are also mentioned in the voters‘ lists of 1985 while the goth
was regularised in 1995 and is also mentioned in the list of regularised goths.

Responding to Dawn‘s queries, the SHO of the Gulshan-i-Maymar police station, Akhtar Bangash, said that the police had
not interfered in this issue as it could not interfere in matters related to land. The issue was between the Malir Development

                                                              37
Authority (MDA) and the villagers, he said, adding that the MDA had even registered cases regarding encroachment on
government land against some of the villagers.

Talking to Dawn MDA chief Amirzada Kohati said that Mullah Essa Goth was a regularised village and was located within
an MDA scheme. The MDA had approached the Board of Revenue and the Goth Abad Programme to carry out a survey
and demarcate its boundaries, he said.

To demolish or not to demolish
Mr Kohati said that when the survey report declared that it was the same Mullah Essa Goth which had been regularised, a
boundary wall would be constructed around it so that no more government land was encroached on. However, if the survey
found portions which had not been regularised, then a report would be sent to the chief minister‘s committee, headed by
provincial Revenue Minister Irfan Gul Magsi, and further action -- to demolish it or not -- would be taken according to these
directives.

Meanwhile, Shafiqur Rahman Paracha of the Village Improvement Programme has also approached the city government‘s
EDO revenue to confirm the revenue status of the village as available in the revenue record as he would not be able to
carry out work according to the chief minister‘s directives on making the village a model village.

Besides, a representative of the owner of the land within the newly constructed boundary wall (next to Mullah Essa Goth)
that the villagers alleged was being portrayed as the real Mullah Essa Goth by the land mafia, told Dawn that it was not a
village but private land and a park was being developed there.

Gadap Town Nazim Murtaza Baloch has also approached the Board of Revenue‘s Syed Anwar Haider for the demarcation
of Mullah Essa Brohi Goth.
The villagers have urged the chief minister to ensure that the survey was carried out honestly and the real village was
demarcated so that the development under the Model Village Programme was carried out at the deserving village and the
nefarious designs of the land mafia were foiled.
They also urged that stern action should be taken against the corrupt government officials trying to cheat the poor villagers.
(By Bhagwandas, Dawn-17, 29/08/2007)



                             KPT ready to give city govt land authority: Ghauri
KARACHI, Aug 28: Federal Minster for Ports and Shipping Babar Khan Ghauri said on Tuesday that the Karachi Port Trust
(KPT) was ready to give land authority to the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) in order to develop a single
authority in the metropolis.

At a ceremony to distribute the allocation orders of Housing Scheme Phase II among federal government employees, Mr
Ghauri said that land orders of some federal authorities such as PECHS and Pak Colony would soon be given to the
CDGK. He added that the KPT was ready to give land to the Karachi Mass Transit Programme but the developer wanted to
use the required 27 acres land for commercial purpose, about which the KPT had reservations.

Pointing out that the country faced a shortfall of 500,000 housing units, the minister said that during his tenure in the chair
of the housing ministry, he approved many housing projects for federal government employees. He added that the current
government had provided all the basic needs of the people. He advised that allottees be handed over possession orders
and that they take steps for the protection of their plots in view of the nefarious activities of the land mafia and start
construction work.

Earlier, Federal Secretary Housing and Services Abdul Rauf Chaudhry said that the allocation order of 300 plots ranging
from 120 square yards to 600 square yards would be distributed among federal government employees.

The director-general of the Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation, Shahid Hameed, said that under the
same project, 219 plots were distributed among Karachi‘s federal government employees. He said that federal government
employees could submit applications for phase III which would soon start with the help of PECHS, in which 1,000 flats
would be developed for federal government staff from grade 1to 16.
At the end, the federal minister distributed land allocation orders among 25 federal government employees.
(Dawn-18, 29/08/2007)



                                        Putting your own house in order…
The Civic Centre building, which houses the City Nazim‘s Secretariat as well as the KBCA, ETD, and SBP offices, is unsafe
as the fire station within this high-rise building as well as the fire-fighting equipment therein are inadequate to deal with a
fire emergency.

A survey of the 10-storeyed Civic Centre revealed that the fire extinguishers on as many as eight floors have been removed
for being non-functional. The ones installed around the City Nazim‘s Secretariat and the office of the District Coordination
Officer (DCO), Karachi, are inadequate to cope with emergencies.

Moreover, the firemen who were transferred to this fire station are also being sent back to their respective fire stations. In
addition to the transfers of firemen, which has caused a shortage of staff, fire tenders allocated to this fire station have also
been transferred to other stations.
The survey also revealed that there are no hosepipes in the fire boxes, which are, instead, serving the purpose of sanitary
tools, such as brooms and mops, on either side of Nazim‘s secretariat. Nor is there any water supply in the pipelines at
many key points.

As mentioned earlier, the building houses the offices of KBCA, KESC, Excise and Taxation Department and the State Bank
of Pakistan in addition to the main building. Additionally, many other important buildings are also situated around the Civic
Centre.
                                                              38
The building keeps the records of key departments, including land department, motor vehicle registration and the KBCA.
Keeping in view the inadequate fire fighting system in the building, it can be assumed that the building is at grave risk. If a
fire breaks out in the building it may destroy all important records before any action is taken. The nearest fire station is
located at NIPA Chowrangi while the perpetual heavy traffic on University Road makes it clear that a fire tender from that
station would at least take 10 minutes to get to the Civic Centre.

When contacted, a source who requested to remain unnamed said, ―While the entire fire security system of the building
was inspected, it was noted that several extinguishers had been out of order for a long time.
He further said that the fire tender and staff deputed to the Civic Centre fire station were also transferred to the SITE fire
station. He also informed The News that a sufficient budget worth Rs10 million was proposed for a fire security system, but
an objection, raised by by a finance officer, has delayed its approval.

When asked if the city Nazim was aware of the situation, he said that the concerned officer had kept him in the dark
regarding this matter. He also said that there were 100 fire extinguishers for this building and all of them were out of order
and can be found in the store room of the fire station. While those installed in City Nazim‘s Secretariat and DCO office, he
said, have been borrowed from the KBCA.

The entire fire security system of Civic Centre fire station immediately needs to be repaired. It requires full maintenance,
oiling, greasing, and overhauling of 86 fire boxes as well as exchanging of parts for these fire boxes and that of the hydrant
valve, main valve and gate valve with female coupling.

Moreover, out-of-order pumps worth millions of rupees can be seen in the yard of the Civic Centre fire station as they have
not been repaired for a long time. It may be worth mentioning here that the same could have been deployed to drain out
stagnant water currently found before fire brigade head office in Saddar town.
(The News-13, 29/08/2007)



                            Fed govt housing schemes to be handed to CDGK
KARACHI: Control of the federal government-administered residences being run in the city would be handed over to the
City District Government Karachi, disclosed Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Babar Khan Ghauri Tuesday.
―The decision was taken to ensure that such schemes are properly monitored,‖ he said while talking to the media during a
ceremony that was held to hand over 300 keys for houses built under the Federal Government Employees Housing
Scheme.

To a question, he said that the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) has not hindered the Karachi Mass Transit Programme. To
another query, he said that he would be able to talk about the last KPT fire incident after the inquiry is complete.

Commenting on the apex court‘s verdict favouring the return of Nawaz Sharif, the minister advised the PML-N‘s exiled
leader not to return to the country and abide by the agreement he had made with the Saudi government.
―I am sure that he (Nawaz) would not return to the country,‖ said the minister. He added that most of the political and
religious parties had failed to serve the masses in the last 60 years, including the one that chanted ―roti, kapra aur makan.‖
He also criticized HRCP leader Asma Jehangir and said that [according to him] she had always been ―anti-Islam and anti-
Pakistan‖ and was ―against the interests of the middle class‖. ―This is the reason that foreign countries give her money,‖ he
claimed.

PPI adds: Ghauri said that land orders of some federal authorities such as PECHS and Pak Colony would soon be given to
the CDGK. KPT was ready to give land to the Karachi Mass Transit Program as its developer wanted to use the required
27 acres for commercial purposes over which KPT had reservations.

He said that the country faced a shortage of 500,000 housing units. The allocation order of 300 plots ranging from 120
square yards to 600 square yards would be distributed among federal government employees, said Housing and Services
Federal Secretary Abdul Rauf Chaudhry.Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation Director General Shahid
Hameed said that 219 plots were distributed among federal government employees in Karachi under the same project.
Federal government employees could submit applications for phase III, which will start soon with the help of PECHS in
which 1,000 flats would be developed for the federal government staff ranging from grades 1 to 16. Ghauri distributed land
allocation orders among 25 federal government employees while the remaining 275 would be sent via courier.
(DailyTimes-B1, 29/08/2007)



                                                Is DHA accountable?
KARACHI, the financial capital of Pakistan, has been turned into a city of polluted environment. The worst conditions
prevail in the most expensive and highly taxed posh area under the monopoly of the DHA. It is a known fact that the DHA
has huge funds all collected from the residents through taxes, membership fees, etc., still the authority is averse to
resolving the problems.

There is mismanagement that has led to corruption, causing sufferings to the residents.

To add insult to the miseries of the residents, roads and streets have been dug in such a reckless manner that even the
gas pipelines and meters have been damaged. On the one hand, the DHA is building parks to minimise pollution and, on
the other hand, it is taking all measures to make the residential surroundings dirty. There is no provision of stormwater
drains in the entire area, due to which the sewerage lines are chocked and the accumulated water swamped the homes of
the area filling into the underground water tanks. What an inhuman living and at what costs?

Is there anyone above the DHA to seek an explanation for creating such filthy conditions?

SHAMIM QURESHI, Karachi
(Dawn-6, Letter to the Editor, 30/08/2007)
                                                             39
                             SHC allows villagers to stay until PQA keeps deal
KARACHI: People from 27 villages have been allowed by the Sindh High Court to live in their homes till a written
agreement with the Port Qasim Authority (PQA) is fully implemented.

A division bench of the SHC comprising Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Justice Ali Sain Dino Metlo was disposed off a
constitutional petition filed by the villagers, including those of Ali Khan Goth and Baloch Goth. The petition was filed by
Khuda Bux Dino and hundreds of villagers who maintained that in 1999 they entered into an agreement with the PQA.

According to the agreement after industrial units were set up in the area, the villagers would be given jobs and residential
plots in exchange for the land. But as the agreement was not implemented and the villagers were not given jobs or
compensation, they decided to move the court.

The court that had previously ordered the maintenance of the status quo, on Wednesday disposed off the petition, allowing
the petitioners to re-occupy their old abodes till the PQA fulfilled its pledges with them.
(DailyTimes-B1, 30/08/2007)



                                               Disaster in the making
A REPORT published in this paper on Thursday highlights the deplorable state of the Karachi fire department. Although the
city has grown rapidly in the last decade, the number of tenders at the department‘s disposal has plummeted from 74 in
1995-96 to just about 20 today. Of these, roughly half are out of order. Vehicles that have been put out of commission due
to mechanical or electrical faults, however minor, are then cannibalised for parts and accessories needed for tenders still in
service. This process continues until the inactive tender has been stripped down to the chassis and is fit only to be sold as
scrap. Yet the department is billed for replacement parts even though they have been removed from another vehicle. No
maintenance records are kept and the state-of-the-art equipment that came with the tenders in 1995-96 have disappeared
without a trace. No one, it seems, has received adequate training in the use of the snorkels acquired recently by the fire
department, a critical shortcoming that became all too apparent during the inferno — the second in six months — that
engulfed the PNSC building on August 19. The litany of woes doesn‘t end there. At least 100 of the fire brigade‘s 945
staffers are said to be working in other city government departments while drawing the salaries and benefits meant for
firefighters who risk their lives in the line of duty. Others with political connections don‘t even bother showing up for work.
All this is in a department for which the city council recently approved the hiring of 370 additional staff members.

This is a shocking and wholly unacceptable state of affairs. A mere ten tenders currently cater to a city of almost 15 million.
The department is ostensibly understaffed while its firefighters are poorly trained and lack essential equipment. Matters are
made worse by the fact that many government buildings — including hospitals — do not meet modern fire-safety standards
and little effort is made to ensure that new structures come equipped with serviceable emergency exits. Such gross
negligence is unpardonable and remedial measures must be initiated forthwith if a major disaster is to be averted.
(Dawn-7, 31/08/2007)



                         Restoration of Quaid-i-Azam House Museum under way
KARACHI, Aug 30: The federal archaeology department, under a two-year Rs3 million project, is carrying out restoration
work on Quaid-i-Azam House Museum.

Talking to Dawn, the director of the federal archaeology department, Sindh and Balochistan, Qasim Ali Qasim, said that
restoration work included replacement of Mangalore tiles, termite-infested false ceilings, frames of trusses, bamboo
kapachi of the Mangalore tiled roof, improvement of drainage and electrification system, etc.

He said that the about 50 per cent of the preservation work had been completed while the rest of the work that also
included upgrade of the auditorium and installation of a multimedia system would be concluded by the end of 2008.

The bungalow -- formerly known as the Flag Staff House as it was once the residence of the army‘s general officer
commanding -- was originally owned by Sohrab Kavasji and Dina Katrak. The Quaid visited the imposing edifice in 1943
and later bought it.

It is a good specimen of the colonial style construction. The frontage has a symmetrical arrangement with two wings
flanking the central porch that carries the projecting part of the verandah.

Simple arcading, carved roofs using red clay tiles are the architectural ingredients of this attractive bungalow with
semicircular balconies. Finely chiselled and carved features embellish the front facade, while the rest of the building is in a
hammer-dressed masonry.

According to official sources, a purchase deed in the name of ―Mr Mahommedali Jinnah, Barrister-at-Law, Bombay‖, was
registered in March 1944. After independence in 1947, the bungalow was furnished with the belongings of the Quaid from
his Delhi and Bombay residences.

After the death of Quaid-i-Azam in 1948, his sister Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah stayed in the house from 1948 to 1964. The
house remained neglected till 1985 when the government of Pakistan finally took over the building and declared it a
national monument, the Quaid-i-Azam House Museum. The building now houses the Quaid‘s furniture, relics and other
items of his daily use.
(By Bhagwandas, Dawn-19, 31/08/2007)




                                                             40
SEPTEMBER
                               SHC stops builder from covering ‘open space’
KARACHI, Aug 31: The Sindh High Court restrained the builder of a 17-storeyed plaza from raising construction on the
compulsory open space under a waiver allegedly granted by the Karachi Building Control Authority.
The construction of ‗Defence Regency‘ on Korangi Road near the Shaheed-i-Millat Road flyover by M/s City Developers
was challenged by M/s Printek (Pvt) Limited through Advocate Salahuddin Ahmed. Non-governmental organisation Shehri
joined in the proceedings.

The construction firm submitted that the KBCA had granted it a waiver from the requirement of leaving the compulsory
open space uncovered. The entire open space could be utilised for the plaza as after the waiver. The KBCA sanctioned the
building plan submitted by it. There was no violation involved as the KBCA exercised its power under the law and rules and
the structure was raised in conformity with the approved design.

The counsel for the petitioner and Shehri said the KBCA had been indulging in irregularities of all kinds but this was the first
time that a violation had allegedly been regularised before its commission. The KBCA or its chief executive had no authority
to override the provisions of the Sindh Building Control Ordinance or the Karachi Building and Town Planning Regulations.

A division bench comprising Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Ali Sain Dino Metlo asked the court nazir to inspect the site
to ascertain the truth. The construction had just started and has hardly reached the plinth level.

Pre-arrest bail decision
The Sindh High Court ruled on Friday that pre-arrest bail applications of accused under the special anti-narcotics law can
be heard and decided by a single judge.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed and Justice Faisal Arab overruled a 1999 single judge‘s
decision that the bail plea be heard by a division bench.

Anti-Narcotics Force counsel Ashfaq Hussain Rizvi argued that under Section 48 of the Control of Narcotic Substances Act,
appeals against conviction could only be heard by a division bench. Bail matters under all special laws, including the
National Accountability Bureau Ordinance, the Anti-Terrorist Act, the Suppression of Terrorist Activities Act and the Banking
Ordinance, were heard by a division bench and disposal by a single judge would be a departure from the consistent
practice since 1999.

Assistant Advocate-General Abdul Jabbar Lakho supported the contention raised by defence counsel Adnan Karim that
pre-arrest bail matters could be entertained by a single judge under Section 498 of the code of criminal procedure. The
bench upheld the view.

Eshwar’s plea
The High Court of Sindh on Friday adjourned the hearing of an appeal filed by a member of the treasury benches in the
Sindh assembly, Eshwar Lal, against the acquittal of PPP MPAs Nisar Khuhro and others charged with beating him up
during an assembly session, adds APP.

MPA Eshwar Lal moved the SHC against the acquittal awarded by the district and sessions judge (South), Zaheer Ahmed
S. Leghari, on July 13, to the leader of the opposition in the Sindh assembly, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, and another PPP MPA,
Syed Murad Ali Shah.

The single bench of the SHC comprising Justice Qaiser Iqbal has given a week to the counsel of Mr Lal to bring on record
the documents in support of his contention that the trial court misread the evidence in case, and adjourned the hearing.
(By Shujaat Ali Khan, Dawn-17, 01/09/2007)



                                CDGK urged to resolve Boulton market issue
KARACHI, Sept 1: As many as 129 shopkeepers of Boulton Market, displaced 29 years ago, have urged the city
government to help resolve the lingering issue.
Observers may recall that in 1976, the defunct Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) had signed an agreement with a
private concern to replace the old market with a new one.

At that time, these shopkeepers had been asked to operate in makeshift structures on the footpath outside the old market
building till the completion of the new structure.
It was agreed that the builder after demolishing the old structure would construct a 10-storeyed building in two years and
the old KMC tenants would be accommodated.

Besides, under the agreement, the KMC was bound to hand over the possession of the new building to the contracting firm
with a grant of 10 year lease.

Consequently, in 1978, the old tenants of the KMC were shifted to temporarily built shops on the assurance that they would
be re-shifted to the shops and stalls of the new super market without any compensation. However, the affected tenants are
still awaiting the issue to get resolved.
A spokesman for the Boulton Market Stall Holders‘ Association blamed bureaucracy for the sufferings of the old tenants left
with no choice but to continue their business in unhygienic conditions.

However, in 1983 the then municipal commissioner of the defunct KMC had held a meeting with a delegation of the
constructing firm but it failed to yield results.


                                                              41
In 1995, the then KMC administrator took the matter to a higher court where it was claimed that the constructing firm had
violated the agreement by not completing the project within the stipulated time and failed to accommodate the 129
shopkeepers — the old tenants — forcing them to continue their business in temporary shelters on the footpath.

The firm was accused of minting millions by handing over allotments to new parties. The association representative
deplored that for reasons best known to the authorities concerned, no interest was shown in the legal proceedings.

In 1998, shops of plastic goods were gutted in a blaze due to a short circuit, extensively damaging the structure of the
market.

Fearing that the KMC would declare the building as an unsafe structure, the new shopkeepers started repair works during
which they had illegally constructed shops and a mosque at vacant places.
In the meantime, the plastic shopkeepers also formed a union and illegally constructed an office on the premises of the
building.

The Boulton Market Stall Holders‘ Association urged the city government to take measures to accommodate the affected
tenants in the basement and the ground floor of the building that would also help improve the traffic situation in the area.
(Dawn-18, 02/09/2007)



                                             The forgotten city of books
Just walking off Bunder Road and into Khori Garden is a treat for all the senses. Super bright balloons and crazily crafted
toys incite one to take a closer look. The seemingly seamless throng of bodies and sputtering rickshaws urges one to move
faster, in pace with their flow. Popular songs, blaring horns and snatches of different dialects provide the soundtrack to the
urgency with which everyone walks, buys and sells.

Walking into a street where mainly books are sold, one can breathe easier, but
not much. The frenetic pace of the market outside seeps into this stretch of
land flanked by mostly book and some hardware stores, and dotted with men
peddling lipstick and perfumes on the sidewalks.

Once the eyes adjust to the incredible blur of thelas, books, and piles of
indistinguishable objects, and the ears to the buzz of shopkeepers calling out
to each other and talking amongst themselves, one realizes that actual buyers
in the area are few and far between. This comes as a surprise as at one
glance, this street seems a book enthusiast's dream come true.

"With the prices of everything else rising, people aren't able to save enough
money to throw away on books," says Junaid, who has inherited his family's shops in Khori Garden. Batman and Superman
smirk down from the shelves in his shop.
"I mainly sell locally produced colouring books," Junaid tells Kolachi, "but I also sell plastic, wholesale, to mehndi cone
manufacturers and juice packers."

Junaid's plastic shop, with columns of gold and silver plastic sheets, is ensconced between his colouring bookstore and his
uncle's bookshop. His uncle, Asif's shop proffers a more eclectic range of books. "We have had our shops here for over 30
years," says Asif.

Going through the books on the shelves in Asif's store, one found among management, IT and art history books, old
childhood favorites by Roald Dahl and the once popular Nancy Drew series, in brilliant condition. With such an interesting
selection of fiction, and some of the best reference books being sold at less than 50 per cent of the price at the more
upscale shops, surely business must be booming!

Asif answers in the negative. "Business has been slow the last few years," he says, "there are a lot of problems that keep
potential customers away, which we have no control over."
"The infrastructure is terrible. There are open manholes and overflowing gutters, and when it rains, our market gets terribly
flooded, the place looks tatty, and that is one of the reasons people avoid coming here. Plus, when the market overflows
with rain water, we are forced to shut down business for days."
Flood by rainwater is a common problem all over Karachi, though, and Asif seems to have grudges running deeper than
that.

"The government pays us no attention," he says, adding that the new plazas
being built over older buildings, some of them built pre-partition, are not as
durable as the ones they are replacing. "They are using cheap material to
build the new buildings." He points out.

His nephew Junaid cites other reasons for why their shops are not doing so
well. He implies that their business tends to get caught up in a cycle of
inflation, whence once inflation rises, limiting their buyer's purchasing power; it
limits their purchasing power as well. "Maal (material) becomes too expensive
for us to buy," he says. Amongst his most frequent customers are students
looking for a cheap reference book. "We don't buy many fiction books,"
explains Junaid.

When the books are imported by the Memon Agency from their place of origin, usually Singapore, Dubai and the United
States, retailers from all over Karachi are called to scrounge through the bounty and buy books in bulk. The Khori Garden
shopkeepers prefer buying what they call 'knowledge books', and most of what little fiction they do pick up is sold off to
paan waalas to wrap their merchandise in. Other books get picked up by the more expensive shops and resold at higher
prices.

                                                               42
With more and more people in Karachi migrating southwards in the city, Khori Garden and its adjoining bazaars are
becoming too distant for them to access easily, and add to that the battlefield that are the Karachi roads, most would prefer
paying more if it means they can avoid getting stuck in gridlocks and not finding a parking spot.

Mohammad Salim Khan who has had his shop in Khori Garden for about 30 years loves his job. As far as he is concerned,
for anyone who loves books, no price, including road rage, is too high to pay. His shop supplies books to local school
libraries, as well as regular customers. He too feels that business has deteriorated over the years, and says that people
avoid coming to the market because of a lack of parking space, caused by thela waalas encroaching almost every free inch
of the area.

Wedged between shops displaying books with exotic titles like 'Mythology of the Americas' and more lighthearted joke
books, are shops and stalls selling toiletries. Even some of the bookshop owners double as toiletry shop owners as they
can make more money that way. These shops sport dodgy brands of shampoo such as 'Doxe', the bottle of which bears the
design of a more popular and credible brand of shampoos and soaps with a similar name.

They also sell better-known brands and their soaps and toothpastes are sold for less than the market price. Waqas, who
runs a toiletries shop claims that imported varieties of different products are sold wholesale to Khori Garden shop owners
from where they are distributed all over Karachi. One wonders if the products being sold are expired or counterfeit. Waqas
vehemently denies this, "If this was the case then Khori Garden would have been wiped out eons ago."

Everyone who is asked about Khori Garden, whether they have been there or not, do know that the place is a treasure
trove of old and new books. What they would be really surprised to learn is that apart from books and stationery, the market
also has several stalls selling chappals. "These chappals are made in home-based kaarkhanas," Ameer Mian tells Kolachi.
Ameer Mian migrated to Karachi in 1951, and his family established the shoe stall in Khori Garden a few years later. Ameer
explains the origin of Khori Garden's name, "there used to be a nice garden here, just beyond where you see all the
shops," he says, "there were sculptures of Hindu deities in the garden, but some time after Partition, people broke those
sculptures and built a small mosque in the garden."

Ameer recounts, a bit sadly, the fact that during the '70s, cabins were allowed to be constructed over most of the park,
which basically cost the people of the area a shady place where they could rest and recuperate during and after a hard
day's work.

The market in Khori Garden developed in as ad-hoc a manner as Karachi itself has. A mix of stalls and concrete structures
have now replaced the cabins built over the garden, and a larger mosque has been built in place of the original one. The
shops have been handed down from father to son, and everyone with a business in the market knows the others. Much like
most of Karachi, most of the shopkeepers aren't Karachi natives, but had moved to the city decades ago with their families.
The newer shopkeepers who have not inherited a shop or do not have the money to buy or rent one simply set up a thela
somewhere in the market, congesting the area.

As Ameer Mian points out, the most obvious choice when looking for employment in Pakistan for any one would be
Karachi, which is sometimes known as the city of immigrants. "The population is constantly increasing," he says, "and
everyone is suffering because of it."

Despite being at the mercy of the elements and economic trends, the shop owners in Khori Garden would not consider
moving their businesses into another area. Much like most Karachiites, they too will complain about the shortcomings of
their city and how they affect their market, but love it regardless.
(By Amina Baig, The News-41 Kolachi, 02/09/2007)



                                            PA hall plan has no NOCs
KARACHI, Sept 2: The Sindh government, which seems to be in haste to go ahead with its project of building a new
provincial assembly hall, has not taken the mandatory permissions from its various departments, it is learnt.
The government plans to build the over Rs620 million new assembly complex – comprising ground plus upper floors
building having the assembly hall, chambers for the speaker, the deputy speaker, etc – on the premises of the historic
Sindh assembly building, which is protected under the Sindh Cultural Heritage Protection Act.

The foundation stone, along with the plaque having names of all the assembly members, was laid at the site, in the
backyard of the assembly, by the chief minister and the assembly speaker on Friday.

Sources said nobody, including the owner, could carry out any construction at a site protected under the act before getting
a mandatory NOC from the Advisory Committee on Cultural Heritage, headed by the chief secretary.

They said as the assembly building was a protected place, getting an NOC was a must before any work could be started
there, and added that the violation of the act attracted long prison terms and heavy fines. The government had not yet
obtained the mandatory NOC from the advisory committee, they added.

The sources said that even before constructing any building on any land in the city, the building plan had to be approved by
the Karachi Building Control Authority. The building plan for the new assembly building had not yet been approved by the
KBCA, the sources added.

Responding to questions, a member of the advisory committee on cultural heritage, Dr Kalimullah Lashari, said that any
building plan for the construction of the new assembly building had not yet been presented before the advisory committee.
He said he was not even aware of the new assembly building and had come to know of it through the newspapers on
Saturday morning. He said the NOC was required before the start of the work, so probably the building plan would be
submitted for consideration in due course of time, before the actual construction began.

He said that it was safer to submit the plans soon to avoid complications at a later stage. He, however, said he could not
even think that the legislature could even think of breaking its own made laws.

                                                            43
Answering questioning, KBCA Building Controller Agha Maqsood Abbas said the building plans had not yet been submitted
to the KBCA so the question of the plans of being approved or not did not arise. After the plans had been submitted, they
would be processed and if they met the KBCA requirements, they would be approved.
He also was of the view that the approval was required before the start of the construction. He said as the existing
assembly building was a protected site under the cultural heritage protection act, the Sindh Culture Department would also
call a report from the KBCA on the issue. The department had also not sought any report on the issue from the KBCA, he
added.

The sources said it was possible that both the SCD and the KBCA would not approve the plans so it was safer to get the
mandatory approvals before the project was started, but by laying the foundation stone the government seemed to go
ahead with the project whether or not it got the required NOCs.

They said this was not the first case of the government, or its organs, violating the conservation laws -- the Rangers had
constructed two huge buildings in its temporary headquarters in the Jinnah Courts, the National Academy of Performing
Arts (NAPA) was constructing a huge building in the Hindu Gymkhana, the deputy speaker had also carried out
construction in her assembly chamber.

The sources said that it was only once that the government had to take back its decision. In the early 1990s, the then prime
minister had laid the foundation stone of the foreign-funded Indus Highway, which was to pass through the Khirthar
National Park, starting from the Super Highway. The conservationists made a hue and cry and the foreign donors stopped
funding and the highway project was rerouted outside the park.

Despite repeated attempts, the chief of the committee responsible for the construction of the new assembly building and
Sindh minister Syed Sardar Ahmed could not be contacted for their version.

Answering questions, a senior architect and member of the Advisory Committee on Cultural Heritage, Arif Hassan, said the
plans for the new assembly building had not yet been submitted to the committee.
He said the plans should have been submitted earlier so that they could have been discussed in the committee to decide if
the NOC could be given. He said it was surprising that even the foundation stone had been laid without getting the
mandatory NOC, without which the project could not be implemented.
(By Bhagwandas, Dawn-13, 03/09/2007)



                                                         DHA today
ACKNOWLEDGED as one of the posh residential areas of Karachi, the DHA is extremely ill-planned and has now
overgrown more or less like ‗katchi abadis‘. A close look at the satellite image of all phases on google earth today will testify
to my statement and the state of affairs in this so-called posh locality of Karachi. A few examples:

a. Lack of proper sewerage and storm drains in almost all phases. Even the CCB office cannot be approached on foot or by
car several days after the rains.
b. Lack of proper water supply in most of the old as well as new phases equally.
c. Ill planned and overcongested commercial areas with no parking spaces in their vicinities.(Zamzama, Tauheed, Badar,
etc.)
d. Senseless construction ‗bye-laws‘ (which they say cannot be challanged in any court of law) such as restriction of a
maximum of three feet plinth level allowed from the centre of the existing road in front. Almost all the roads are eventually
raised later, resulting in sinking of the ground floor below the road level, particularly in phases II extn., IV, V and VII. Drive
on the Sunset Boulevard or the Commercial Avenue Phase IV to Khyaban-i-Ittehad and countless houses are flooded
every year. It cannot be rectified now. All due to this senseless clause of construction bye-laws now four decades old.
e. Poor as no response of the authorities concerned with regard to the residents‘ complaints for electricity, streetlights,
sewerage, water supply, etc.

I wonder if the authorities concerned will ever open their eyes instead of covering them like an ostrich in disrtess? It is time
the DHA residents consider withholding the CCB tax, due end of September, which is promptly collected a year in advance
(Year 2007-2008)
Ijtaba Zaidi, Karachi
(Dawn-6, Letter to the Editor, 03/09/2007)



                                               394 get ownership rights
Federal Housing Minister Iqbal Muhammad Ali distributed certificates of ownership among 394 residents of Pakistan
Quarters. Earlier, in the first phase of the scheme, out of 2,800 government quarters, the eligibility certificates were
distributed among 1,736 residents of Jehangir Road, Patel Para, Martin Road, Teen Hatti and Liaquatabad. Iqbal said that
the government was committed to providing facilities to the people and a number of initiatives have been taken for solving
housing problems.
(The News-14, 03/09/2007)



                                                 This land is my land…
The confrontation between the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and the City Government has, once again, come to a head. This
time it is regarding a piece of land situated beside the sailing club near Boat Basin.

Though a cold war of sorts had been brewing over the piece of land for a long time, the dispute came to the fore again
when the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) deployed bulldozers and dumpers to the site with the intention of
developing a park on the said land. In response to this, the KPT sent its officials there on Tuesday morning who attempted
to stop them from their work, CDGK officials at the site maintained.

                                                               44
The KPT claims that the CDGK has nothing to do with the land and that they are just trying to grab it through illegal means.
―They have no right over this land as the area doesn‘t fall in their jurisdiction but that of the Cantonment Board Clifton
(CBC). Not only this plot but also the surrounding land belongs to the KPT,‖ said KPT spokesperson, Shafique Ahmed,
adding that the KPT had given the surrounding areas to various parties on lease.

When a large number of CDGK and KPT officials appeared on the site, the Boat Basin police had become involved. The
police officials prevented the ongoing work on which the CDGK officials (that were present on the site) alleged that the
department of police was hand-in-glove with the KPT.

The parks and horticulture department of the CDGK has persistently claimed that the land doesn‘t belong to the KPT but is
the property of the city government. ―After staying under the hold of the Karachi Development Authority (KDA) for about 40
years, the land was handed over to the Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC),‖ stated the Executive Director (ED) of the
department, Liaquat Ali.

According to the ED, the government of Sindh had issued a notification 10 years ago, which handed over the land to KMC.
Given that the KDA and KMC were amalgamated into one body, i.e. the CDGK, the land belongs to CDGK now, he
maintained.

Liaquat told The News that the CDGK officials had been engaged on the site for the last three days removing the
encroachments that had appeared in the past few years and that this was done with the permission of the DCO and the city
Nazim. ―Now when we have removed the encroachment from the site, the KPT have appeared on the scene claiming their
ownership,‖ he said.

Ali says that the department has that notification as proof of their ownership and that if the KPT claims their ownership of
the land, they must come up with some solid proof. He insisted that there must be a table talk between higher authorities to
take a decision. He ensured that, whatever the decision of the higher-ups, the department will accept it.

Following police instructions, the work had to be stopped and though the CDGK officials left the premises by the evening,
the matter has not yet been resolved. Boat Basin Station House Officer (SHO), Imran Zaidi told The News that the land is
under ‗status quo‘ and that no one would be allowed to enter the premises until and unless a final decision is taken by the
authorities.
(By Aisha Masood, The News-13, 05/09/2007)



                              KPT and CDGK face-off over empty Clifton plot
KARACHI: It would have been a routine operation for DO Parks Liaquat Ali Khan when he turned up at a dumping yard
near Bilawal Chowrangi Tuesday morning. Their job was to level the ground in preparation to reportedly build a park.
Excavators and other heavy machinery cranked into place. Perhaps just to be on the safe side, Khan brought along with
him up to 50 private security guards equipped with batons.

The plot in question is located right next to a sailing club off the road that leads to Shireen Jinnah Colony from Bar-B-Q
Tonight. Heaps of festering garbage and smoldering scrap lie in stinking mounds the stretch to the waterfront. During a
much earlier visit to the plot for a report on environment day, Daily Times spoke to several workers there who said that they
collected garbage from Saddar and Clifton towns and dumped them there before a private contractor carted the mess away
to one of the landfill sites.

However, as soon as the CDGK team started up its engines, Karachi Port Trust (KPT) officials turned up at the plot.

A KPT spokesman told Daily Times that the plot of approximately 10,000 square yards had been under the jurisdiction of
the Karachi Port Trust and was being used as a dumping yard by the city government. ―The entire strip from Bar-B-Q
Tonight restaurant to Ziauddin Hospital belongs to KPT and the land had been given on lease to a private firm to set up a
sailing club etc,‖ he said. ―The CDGK officials had been asked many times to avoid this practice [of dumping] but they
ignored in the past and on Tuesday morning, they gathered their heavy machinery and started the operation to level the
ground,‖ he said.

Upon seeing the KPT team, the CDGK team called the local police as backup but in return the KPT called the Port Security
Force. According to the KPT spokesman they did this to avoid ―any untoward situation as the mood of the private security
officials led by the DO Parks was not good‖.
―After the intervention of senior officials on both sides, the DO Parks called back his private security force and the city
government machinery in the evening,‖ the KPT spokesman said.

Daily Times repeatedly tried to contact the DO Parks but he was not traceable.

Faraz Khan adds: According to SPO Boat Basin, DSP Javed Bhatti, the plot is empty and both departments‘ officials were
laying claims to it. Bhatti said that there was no clash between the CDGK and KPT officials. They decided on the scene that
officials of both departments would decide who was the owner.
(By Jamil Khan, DailyTimes-B1, 05/09/2007)



                                      City govt asserts claim to parkland
KARACHI, Sept 5: The city government appears to be quite within its rights to reconstruct and renovate the Boat Basin
park considering that the now defunct Karachi Development Authority paid over Rs1.1 million to the Karachi Port Trust in
Oct 1994 to acquire the parkland measuring around 229 acres.

Documents obtained by Dawn make it abundantly clear that the ownership of the land cannot be disputed after a payment
of Rs1,108,343 by the city government‘s predecessor to the KPT for the 228 acres and 4,823 square yards of the Boat
Basin park. An acre equals 4,840 square yards.
                                                            45
Sources told Dawn that both the city government and the KPT – the former headed by a Muttahida Qaumi Movement
nazim and the latter run by an MQM minister – were determined to turn to Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad – another MQM
appointee – for the resolution of the stand-off.

However, senior KPT officials based their claim to the parkland on their assertion that the KDA defaulted on the payment.

According to the documents, the Boat Basin park is part of KDA Scheme 5, Kehkashan Clifton, which was initiated in 1964
on the orders of the then governor of West Pakistan. An area of 638 acres and 1590 square yards of KPT land was also
involved as it fell within Scheme 5.

The park was constructed by KDA which maintained it till 1994. However, through a notification issued on July 7, 1994, the
Sindh government transferred Scheme 5 with its parks, playgrounds and roadside plantation to the Karachi Metropolitan
Corporation (KMC) from the KDA.

There was a dispute between the KMC and the KPT over the ownership of the land measuring 228 acres and 4823 square
yards. The governing body of the KDA took up the matter in its meeting on Oct 24, 1982 and agreed to refer the matter to
the deputy commissioner concerned for seeking necessary clarification about the ownership issue. After an exchange of lot
of correspondence and a lapse of considerable period, the DC South rejected the KMC‘s claim and through a letter dated
March 31, 1988 decided that the land in question was owned by the KPT.

However, after the transfer of Scheme 5 to the KMC, the KPT wrote a letter dated Sept 22, 1994 to the director-general of
the KDA, reminding him of the fact that the trust had provided an area of 638 acres and 1,590 square yards in connection
with Kehkashan Clifton at an agreed price of Re1 per square yard. The letter said that the KDA had to pay a total amount of
Rs3,089,510 but till 1994 it had paid an amount of Rs1,860,060 and the balance amount of Rs1,219,450 was yet to be
paid.

After receipt of the letter, the same day -- ie on Sept 22, 1994 -- the governing body of the KDA held a meeting to discuss
the matter of compensation for the KPT land in KDA Scheme 5, Kehkashan. According to the Resolution No 119, the
meeting decided to pay Rs1,108,347 on account of cost of land No C measuring 228 acres (Boat Basin park). The payment
of Rs1,108,343 in respect of the said piece of land was made to the KPT through a cheque dated Oct 9, 1994.

The sources said that after the payment of the remaining amount, the KPT never raised the issue of ownership of the piece
of land where the Boat Basin park was built.
They rejected the claim that the KPT cancelled the allotment of the land due to the default of payment by the KDA.
―The KDA made full payment of the land, which was transferred to the KMC and now it is owned by the city government,‖
said a senior official.

The sources alleged that the KPT wanted to grab the parkland in order to use it for a commercial venture.
However, the General-Manager, Administration, KPT, Brig Shahid Saleem, told Dawn that according to KPT record, the
KDA failed to pay the agreed amount to the trust after which the KPT reacquired the land. ―This is still a disputed area but
this matter should be resolved mutually. The KDA acquired this land for Scheme 5 but built a park there. They had
defaulted and the land has now been resumed,‖ he added.
(By Azfar-ul-Ashfaque, Dawn-17, 06/09/2007)



                                 Builders restrained in ‘occupied’ land cases
KARACHI, Sept 5: The Sindh High Court restrained builders and developers on Wednesday from raising any construction
on or creating third party interest in over 130 acres of allegedly unlawfully occupied government land.
Identical restraint orders for maintaining status quo were passed in two different suits by Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and
Justice Munib Ahmed Khan.

According to Additional Advocate-General M. Ahmed Pirzada, land grabbers were involved in collusive litigation in both
cases and were abusing the process of law to secure a legal cover to usurp over 130 acres of government land.
In the first case, a partnership firm instituted a suit against a number of defendants claiming that they (the defendants) were
‗owners‘ of 100 acres in Nai Bazaar, Deh Kharkharo, Gadap Town. The plaintiff firm purchased the land from the ‗owners‘,
who were not prepared to execute a sale and transfer deed even after receiving full payment of the agreed price.

The plaintiff also alleged that the defendants were demanding additional amount for executing a sale deed. They have
threatened to resell the property to a third party if the demand was not met. The firm requested the court to direct the
defendants to take all steps to transfer the ownership of the property to it.

Submitting revenue record and ‗property for sale‘ advertisements published in the press, Mr Pirzada said plaintiff firm was,
in fact, in possession of the property and planned to raise a housing project known as ‗Inara City Project‘. He alleged that it
was hand in glove with the defendants. The land belonged to the provincial government but had been illegally occupied by
land grabbers and a legal cover was now sought through collusive litigation to continue illegal possession.

Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali asked the parties to maintain status quo pending the hearing of the suit. No construction
should be raised on and no third party interest created in the property.

The second case involved about 30 acres claimed by a co-operative housing society at Gulzar-i-Hijri, Scheme 33. It also
cited the police as a defendant as the force was out to forcibly dispossess it of the property. The plaintiff society said the
owners of the land had been paid over Rs92 million but were still reluctant to execute a final sale deed. It sought a
declaration and an injunction in its favour.
Relying on revenue record, the AAG said the suit property was another piece of government land occupied by land
grabbers in the name of a housing society. He requested an interim order for status quo in respect of the land.

Justice Munib Ahmed Khan restrained all the parties from dealing with the property pending hearing of the suit.
(Dawn-19, 06/09/2007)

                                                             46
                                  One killed as building collapses in Clifton
A labourer was killed while two others sustained injuries when some floors of an under-construction multi-storeyed building
collapsed in Dehli Colony in Clifton on Wednesday. Area residents and concerned quarters said that the incident occurred
due to the use of substandard material, systematic corruption and irregularities on the part of the Clifton Cantonment Board
(CCB) authorities.

The top three floors of the under-construction six-storey residential building named Zeenat Terrace collapsed with a loud
bang around midday, as a result of which Alam Khan, 28, was killed, while Saeed Khan, 22, and Aleem Khan, 30,
sustained injuries. The injured were rushed to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) where their condition was
stated to be critical.

Incidentally, very few construction workers were busy in finishing work on the building at the time of the accident.
―The labourers were on the third floor busy in finishing their work when the roofs of fourth, fifth, and sixth floors suddenly
collapsed,‖ said Muhammad Ibrahim of Muntizma Committee of Dehli Colony who along with the area residents rushed to
the scene and rescued the injured labourers.

The concerned quarters of the area severely decried the role of the cantonment board‘s authorities in giving their tacit
consent to the widespread construction of multi-storeyed buildings in the residential vicinity.
They pointed out that, according to the cantonment‘s building by-laws, only the construction of ground-plus-one buildings
were allowed.

The effected building is situated at plot no D-3/17, street NO 4, Dehli Colony No 2. The entire Dehli Colony vicinity is
packed with multi-storeyed apartments and, like elsewhere, there is no proper spacious street or road available for the
visitors of Zeenat Terrace.

The area dwellers said that the collapsed building is posing serious threat to the lives of the residents of nearby buildings
as they fear that, after sudden collapsing of some of the floors, other portions of the building could come crashing down at
any time.

A construction expert said that serious faults in designing and raising the concrete structure of the building could have been
behind the collapse of its top floors. Such buildings are usually constructed by unskilled and unqualified building contractors
who, most of the time, do not care for proper designs and plans for each floor.
A police official of the Frere police station, in whose jurisdiction the incident occurred, said that the builder of the said
project Muhammad Ahmed has been summoned to the police station. At last report an FIR had been registered against the
contractor.
(The News-13, 06/09/2007)



                         1,300 unauthorised, dangerous buildings in CBC areas
Thirteen hundred buildings under the jurisdiction of the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) are unauthorised and have been
constructed illegally, and pose a danger to human lives. Many of them are in Delhi Colony, which is a highly built up colony
adjacent to some of the upmarket localities of the city.
This illegal activity has been going on for the past three or four decades, say officials. One such building, Zeenat Terrace,
comprising seven floors (ground plus six) collapsed on Wednesday. The three upper floors out of the five illegally
constructed floors crumbled due to unauthorised and faulty construction.

The roof of the top floor collapsed and cause damage and death as it also resulted in the damage of two lower floors. Like
many other buildings in the area, this one was also illegally extended to six floors. According to the buildingís plan, only
ground plus one floor was authorised.

The Delhi Colony has become a nightmare for town planners and building control authorities. Almost all buildings here
violate city construction by-laws. It is surprising that the CBC still turns a blind eye to this and only wakes up when tragedy
strikes.

After Wednesday‘s incident, building inspector Abdul Majeed Qadri was suspended by the CBC and an FIR has been
registered in this regard.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Iftikhar Ahmed Mir told The News that he has ordered an inquiry to find out why this
incident happened and this inquiry is to be headed by the Additional CEO, Sardar Taimoor Khan Durrani. ―The inquiry
report has to be submitted within seven days,‖ promised Mir.

Since the plan of Zeenat Terrace was submitted in May 2007, it has not been more than two months when construction
started. The structure of the building is comparatively small and is a unit spread over 60 square yards. And yet, the speed
with which it was constructed may possibly have been why it fell. This building was a joint project of three or four builders
including Muhammad Yousuf and Muhammad Yaseen the CBC told The News. The CBC official said that he would not
disclose the names of the other builders ―as they were women.‖

Many blame the CBC and civic authorities. Others disagree.

The CBC official defended the role of his organisation: ―Enforcement activities cannot be done without cooperation from the
general public. We are trying to take it to the higher ups and have brought MPAs and MNAs on board to ensure public
cooperation,‖ Iftikhar Mir told The News.

Mir said that influential elements pressurised the junior staff of CBC who do not feel confident enough to do then challenge
irregularities.



                                                             47
This is an intricate issue and multiple factors as well as the land mafia is involved in it, claimed Mir. The CBC CEO said that
while some embark on illegal constructions using their connections and influence, others argue that they should be allowed
the same as a precedence has been set.

With regard to the sizeable number of high rise unauthorised buildings in the vicinity, a case had been registered with the
federal government for the past five years for their regularisation. Some feel this is the answer. The case is still in progress
but no decision has yet been taken. Engineering experts say that one of the problems associated with the high rise
buildings is the speed with which they are put up as was the case of Wednesday‘s tragedy.

―During construction, one roof requires 15 days shuttering time after construction and this is something the builders do not
wait for. As a result, roofs are left without proper and complete curing. Moreover, the infrastructure of the colony doesn‘t
allow high rises,‖ say experts as the streets are narrow and there has heavy construction in the vicinity. Mir said a team of
CBC engineers was inspecting the structure to find the causes and reasons of the collapse.

However he agreed that the builders and labourers ignore the construction regulations. The construction material was
substandard, he said and pointed out the usual trend that ―the workers usually lock the ground floor to prevent anyone‘s
entrance inside the building.‖ This stops the authorities from investigating further.
Responding on the death of one labourer and injuries to others owing to the collapse, the CEO said that the board would
take action against those who are responsible. ―We will do whatever is needed to be done in this regard,‖ he said.
(By Aisha Masood, The News-13, 06/09/2007)



                          Delhi Colony ‘skyscraper’ crashes during construction
KARACHI: In the haste to finish his new house before Ramzan, Mohammad Ahmed managed to construct a six-storey
building within six months in Delhi Colony. Unfortunately, however, one of the construction workers was killed Wednesday
when the roof collapsed on him and other labourers while they were plastering.

Twenty-eight-year old Alam Khan died and three labourers, Saeed, 35, Riaz, 25 and an unidentified man were injured. ―All
of us tried to escape but couldn‘t because the roof collapsed first on us and then the fifth floor collapsed on the fourth and
the fourth on the third,‖ said Saeed from Jinnah hospital where the men were taken. The Frere police eventually got to the
scene but initially there was no one to help the men. Now the building is being demolished.

According to initial investigation officer, Dedar Ali Abbasi, the building consisted of six floors illegally built on Plot No. D/3/7,
Street No. 4. Delhi Colony No. 2. Owner Mohammad Ahmed had named it Zeenat Terrace after his sister. ―I was not
present at the scene,‖ Ahmed told the police. ―I‘m not a responsible for it because I got to the scene only after I got the
news.‖ He maintained that if he were guilty he would have escaped. ―I wanted to complete the building before Ramzan
because I wanted to shift my family there.‖

The construction work was going so fast that six floors had been raised in six months. Clifton Cantonment Board
spokesman Khadim Hussain told Daily Times that he could not confirm whether the board had approved the construction
but he was doubtful. ―We just give approval for ground plus one floors according to the act,‖ he said, adding that they had
demolished unauthorized buildings several times in the same area but as usual came up against powerful political backing.

Frere SHO Inspector Siddiqui Abbasi told Daily Times that the families of the victims didn‘t want to lodge an FIR against the
contractor because they said it was an accident. Nonetheless, the police lodged FIR No. 185/07 (Under Sections 319, 34)
on behalf of the government and have arrested Mohammad Ahmed.

Deceased Alam Khan hailed from the NWFP and had come to Karachi four months ago for work. He was unmarried.
(By Faraz Khan, DailyTimes-B1, 06/09/2007)



                                          DHA & Clifton Cantonment Board
KARACHI is the principal city of Pakistan and in it we have the Defence Housing Authority which is occupied by the elite
belonging to all walks of life and foreigners.
The residents of this authority are unfortunate as they are deprived of the basic amenities, i.e. proper roads, drainage,
sewerage and water, which would provide them some comfort whilst electricity, telephone and gas are things in which other
service organisations are involved.

As a result of mismanagement, poor planning, dictatorial attitude and, above all, inefficiency of the Defence Housing
Authority and the Clifton Cantonment Board, which are at the helm of affairs, the living conditions seem to be deteriorating
each day and there is no one prepared to listen to the woes of the occupants, whilst they continue to pay heavy sums in the
form of taxes.

For the occupants of the Authority, a normal topic of conversation is to talk about the problems being faced, be they water,
drainage, sewerage or the disposal of garbage. To top this up, the recent rain (which was for only a day) has left untold
miseries which seem to continue — imagine if this rain would have continued for a couple of days.

Several roads remain flooded with water and the funny thing is that whereas a road may appear to be clear of water but
has a pool of water over a foot-deep making the crossing difficult. As a result of poor levelling of the road and with no
provision for water drainage whatsoever, even the few roads, like Beach Avenue, which were clear were dug up and closed
for traffic altogether.

The conditions can only be improved if the DHA administrator and the Cantonment Board executive officer give some
thought to the problems faced, revise the residents‘ association, which is a puppet association and pretty ineffective, and
make some sincere efforts to stop the degradation from taking place.
MUNEER MUHAMMAD KHAN, Karachi
(Dawn-6, Letter to the Editor, 07/09/2007)
                                                                48
                                                    Building collapse
The collapse of three floors of an under-construction six-storey building in the Clifton area of Karachi on Wednesday is
disturbing. Firstly, not only does it bring into uncertainty the safety of the residents of other, similarly constructed buildings
in the vicinity, but also poses a wider question of the standards of high-rise buildings across the city. There are reports that
within the jurisdiction of the Clifton Cantonment Board (CBC) alone, where the building in question is located, there are
some 1,300 structures that are unauthorized and deemed dangerous. The six-storey building in Clifton was being erected
on a plot that measured a mere 60 square yards and in total disregard of the bye-laws of the area, which clearly delineate
that only a ground-plus-one-storey building can be built on land of such size. It is fortunate that the building was under-
construction and not yet inhabited by people, else the death toll could have been a lot higher. However, the problem is that
there are other such buildings already standing in the area, which are inhabited by people. Such high-rise constructions on
small tracts of land are a standard practice today in light of the need for low-cost housing for the burgeoning population of
Pakistan's largest city. However, it is imperative that safety not be renounced for the sake of quantity.

That builders and contractors routinely use substandard materials and violate building rules and regulations for cutting
costs and maximizing their profit construction has long been a problem. Making things worse is the fact that, in most cases,
labourers working on these constructions are unskilled and not imparted any sort of know-how about basic building
standards and techniques by their employers before starting their work. However, more disturbing is the fact that the
authorities, in this particular case the CBC, are allegedly turning a blind eye to these practices. Conversely, the argument
that their building inspectors and other lower-tier officials are not strong enough to stand against the pressure put on them
by influential people who are usually behind such projects may merit some consideration but it ignores the fact that in many
instances the illegalities happen because the building control authorities look the other way.
(The News-7, 07/09/2007)



                                              Small Industrial Estates
                                     Allottees face action for not using plots
KARACHI, Sept 9: The Sindh Small Industries Corporation (SSIC) has started issuing notices to the owners of plots at
Small Industrial Estates across the province for their failure to establish industrial units.
The corporation has issued over 400 notices to such owners asking them to pay the non-utilisation fee and also establish
the industrial units. This was stated by the additional secretary of the Sindh Industries Department, Murli Manohar, while
talking to media on Sunday.

Mr Manohar said that SSIC had established small industrial estates in Sukkur, Larkana, Sehwan, Dadu, Shikarpur,
Kandhkot, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Badin, Sanghar, Nawabshah, Thatta, Tando Adam, Gambat, Rohri, Hala etc but failed
to get a positive response from the people.
―The corporation had prepared project profiles of a number of industrial units that could be established with small
investment. It also offered loans and technical assistance for setting up the industries but even then no results could be
achieved in most of the estates,‖ he added.

To a question, the official said that the government had simplified the procedure of setting up industries and now even an
NOC was not required for this purpose except certain sectors including arms and ammunition, radioactive substances,
security printing, high explosive material and alcoholic beverages.

However, Mr Manohar said that this policy had resulted into a mushroom growth of unregistered industrial units producing
substandard goods creating pollution and violating other laws regarding minimum wages etc.
―About twenty per cent of all the industrial concerns are unregistered and located in residential and other non-industrial
areas,‖ he said, adding that the government had asked to get themselves registered.

The official said that the development work on the Rs10 billion Textile City spread over 1,250 acres was under way in
Karachi. He said that it was a public-private partnership project of the federal and Sindh governments, banks etc and the
provincial government had initially invested Rs100 million in the project.
(Dawn-15, 10/09/2007)



                          Hyderabad council calls for low-cost housing schemes
HYDERABAD: Members of the Hyderabad District Council on Tuesday demanded of the district government to introduce
low-cost housing schemes, constructing parking plazas and establishing a department to exclusively look after the
maintenance of monuments in the Hyderabad district.
The House passed various resolutions on matters of public interest during its regular session held under the chairmanship
of its convener Zafar Rajput.

Hussein Bux Hussaini and Mohammad Ali Gohar presented identical resolutions demanding introduction of low-cost
housing schemes in the district in line with the Taisar Town scheme of Karachi.
They said the property rates were rapidly increasing; therefore, the district government should announce a residential
scheme for low-income citizens. They said help may be sought from federal and provincial governments if required. The
members approved the resolution without any debate.

A resolution on upgradation of the drainage system in the city was also passed unanimously.

Yameen Soomro, Khan Mohammad Chandio, and Mehboob Abro supported the resolution and termed the problem as
being of grave concern. Munawwar Zai, Arif Razmi and Rashid Khan said work on the drainage system had already been
started and the problem would soon be resolved.

In his ruling, Convener Zafar Rajput said that billions of rupees were being spent on the sewerage schemes in the city and


                                                               49
the district government was giving top priority to this problem. He said Wasa officials have specially been directed to repair
the leakages in the water supply and sewerage lines before Ramazan.
The resolution regarding construction of parking plazas was presented by Javed Kardar, saying they were necessary to
avoid traffic jams.

The Chair referred the motion to the council's Works Committee to come up with the suggestions in the next session.

An eight-member committee was also formed on a resolution of Javed Kardar on cultural activities in the district. The
committee will work in coordination with the sports and culture committee of the council and present recommendations in
the next session. A resolution about playgrounds was also referred to the sports committee.

On a complaint of Mehboob Abro that Qasimabad was being ignored by the education authorities, the Chair directed the
officials concerned to submit a detailed report to Abro on the education schemes in his area.

Munawwar Zai presented a resolution regarding proper maintenance of monuments and historic buildings in the city, which
was approved by the House.
The convener asked the members to attend the sessions regularly and adjourned the session for an indefinite period.
(By Adeel Pathan, The News-3, 12/09/2007)



                                         Non-availability of land
                             NAB keeping nine housing societies under watch
ISLAMABAD, Sept 15: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has initiated inquiry against nine private and cooperative
housing schemes in the capital city that were approved by a senior official of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), who
is currently under suspension for alleged corruption, sources told Dawn.

The sources said CDA‘s Deputy Director-General (Planning) Mohammad Iqbal Noori had favoured these housing schemes
to have some personal gains.

However, Director Housing Societies Sarwar Sindhu said few of the schemes approved by the accused deputy director-
general had addressed most of the irregularities and purchased required land. But few are still not meeting the laws of the
CDA and cooperative department of the local administration, he added.

The housing schemes being scrutinised by NAB are:
New Islamabad Gardens that is being developed by Capital Builders on 800 kanals in Sector C-17. The CDA had issued a
No Objection Certificate (NOC) to the scheme, but it was withdrawn after it failed to purchase the required land and did not
follow the prescribed rules.

RP Corporation Housing Scheme, that was launched by RP Corporation in Sector E-16, had also obtained an NOC from
the CDA. According to the layout plan, the scheme is to be developed on 1,616 kanals having 931 plots. However, the
developers have failed to purchase the required land.

Another private housing scheme, Margalla View, was launched by the Twin City Housing that also acquired an NOC from
the CDA. The scheme requires 2,018 kanals to accommodate 1,118 plots.
A scheme, Khyaban-i-Kashmir, started by the Jammu and Kashmir Cooperative Housing Society is also stated to be under
observation. It has to purchase 3,480 kanals in sectors G-15 and F-15 to develop 2,516 plots.

The NAB is also monitoring the Cabinet Division Employees Cooperative Housing Society initiated by the employees of the
cabinet division. According to its layout plan, the scheme needs 4,400 kanals in sectors E-16 and E-17 for 2,749 plots. An
NOC has been issued to it.

Jeddah Town Housing Scheme sponsored by the Gillani Housing Corporation International was also approved by Mr Noori
and an NOC was issued for 800 kanals in Zone-V.

Another scheme, Soan Garden, was initiated by the Civilian Employees Cooperative Housing Society (CECHS) and its
layout plan was approved for 2,984.75 kanals to develop 2,401 plots.

Gulshan-i-Rabia Housing Scheme‘s layout plan was approved on July 21, 2005. It is being developed in Mouza Herdogher
and Jandala on 649 kanals.
(By Syed Irfan Raza, Dawn-2, 16/09/2007)



                                     Margalla Towers compensation
                            Supreme Court rules in favour of affected persons
ISLAMABAD, Sept 17: The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to pay within 15
days Rs1.75 billion to the 143 apartment owners in the Margalla Towers which had collapsed in the October 8, 2005
earthquake.

The court‘s compensation award was warmly welcomed by the affected families. It came 20 days before the second
anniversary of the devastating earthquake which killed 74 residents of the Margalla Towers and about 73,000 in all.

A CDA source said the body would challenge the award as the compensation amount excluded the millions of rupees the
CDA has paid to the affected apartment owners on the court‘s orders.

CDA had already set aside Rs1.5 billion for compensation in its budget for the current year.


                                                             50
Monday‘s award was delivered by a four-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad
Chaudhry. It directed the CDA to hold a meeting with the representatives of Margalla Towers Residents Action Committee
(MTRSC) in two days and finalise the plan regarding release of compensation amount.

After paying the compensation, the land and the surviving structure of the Margalla Towers will belong to the CDA.
In case the court order is implemented immediately, the owner of a one bed-room apartment would receive roughly Rs5
million, that of two-bed apartment Rs6.5 million, of three-bed Rs8.5 million and of four-bed Rs11 million.
The case of Margalla Towers was filed in the Supreme Court before the suspension of Chief Justice and its last hearing
took place on March 8, 2007, a day before his suspension. The court decided the case on the very first hearing after the CJ
regained the charge of his office.

No compensation should be paid against the five apartments belonging to Ramzan Khokhar, the builder and first owner of
the Margalla Towers, who was accused of faulty construction which caused one-and-a-half block of the five-block Margalla
Towers to collapse.

The CJ wondered why the CDA wanted to compensate Ramzan Khokhar when he committed criminal negligence while
constructing the building.

Khokhar, his wife, and consultant engineer Hafeez Sheikh have been declared absconder as they had fled to United
Kingdom following the collapse of the building.

The court gave more relief to the dwellers of Margalla Towers by excluding the rent they have been receiving from the CDA
since the building collapsed from the compensation amount.

The CDA told the court that it will have to sell the land and the abandoned structure of the Margalla Towers to pay the
compensation. But the CJ said that had nothing to do with the compensation and the CDA has to pay Rs1.75 billion within
15 days to the affected people.

Media coordinator of MTRAC Iftikhar Chaudhry said the committee would shortly sit with the CDA to finalise a schedule for
the payment of compensation which would be according to the size of an apartment.
The residents‘ action committee asked the SC to make public the inquiry report of the Prime Minister‘s Inspection
Commission so that people responsible for the Margalla Tower tragedy could be punished. He said eight chairmen of the
CDA have been held responsible for poor construction of Margalla Towers including Fariduddin Ahmed, Shafi Sehwani,
Khalid Saeed, Zafar Iqbal, Qamar Zaman, Mir Laiq Shah, Abdul Rauf Chaudhry and Kamran Lashari.
(By Syed Irfan Raza, Dawn-2, 18/09/2007)



                                        CDGK staff stiffed over housing
KARACHI: The CDGK staffers who live in Lyari‘s Slaughterhouse Colony may have never heard of American writer Kurt
Vonnegut‘s 1969 classic war novel ‗Slaughterhouse 5‘ but they and other CDGK workers would certainly agree that the
conditions they live in are quite similar to those of the WWII prison cells in the novel that were set up in an old Dresden
slaughterhouse.

Slaughterhouse Colony has more than 403 flats and most of its residents are sweepers who have been living there for the
last four decades. Over the years, a supply of drinking water and a proper sewerage system have vanished and in their
place cracked walls, broken balconies and tilted rooftops have slowly appeared.
―There hasn‘t been water here for many years,‖ said 45-year-old Anwar Masih. The residents have to fetch water in jerry
cans from nearby localities. ―Nobody has helped us even though we‘ve complained many times,‖ he said, adding that no
one wants to live in the dozen flats on the top floor because they are in such bad condition.

Other residential colonies for city government workers are no better off. Ironically, neither the works and services nor the
accommodation department of the city government has done any maintenance work in years.

The other colonies include Narainpura on Marwick Road in Saddar (480 quarters), Sweepers Quarters in Clifton (20),
Keamari Sweepers Quarter (61), Ejector No. 16 Sweepers (34), Haqani Chowk Pakistan Chowk (eight), Jehangir Panthki
Sweepers Colony near Jubilee Cinema (19), Soldier Bazaar Colony (85), Nanakwara (12) and Soldier Bazaar Maternity
Home (eight).

There are around 3,000 official residences of different categories in the city, according to Accommodation District Officer
Riaz Ahmed Khatri. ―It is our duty to accommodate CDGK officials, while the works and services department is responsible
for the provision of all civic facilities.‖

There are around 69 bungalows or flats for officers from BS-16 and above, 492 quarters/flats for Muslim employees of the
CDGK from BS-1 to BS-4, 206 quarters or flats for Muslims from BS-5 to BS-15, 380 flats for medical department officials,
351 for the fire brigade department, 1,130 quarters for Class-IV sweepers, 47 for officials of the parks and horticulture
department and 63 for the employees of the Garden department.

These residents live on Clifton Road, PIDC, Alladin Park, Stadium Road, near Civic Centre, Gurumandir, Beaumont Road,
F. B. Area, Ramswami, Paposh Nagar, Garden, Jamila Street, near Jubilee Cinema, Mehmoodabad, Gutter Baghicha,
Marwick Road in Saddar, Frere Road, M.A. Jinnah Road, Shahrah-e-Faisal, Nazimabad, Soldier Bazaar, Rexor Line, near
FTC, Bath Island, Bihar Colony, Pakistan Chowk, Lyari, Manghopir Road, Lea Market, Gizri, Dastagir, Liaquatabad, Liaquat
Market Malir, Orangi Town No. 111, Keamari, Old Golimar, near Empress Market, SITE, Sohrab Goth and Pakistan Chowk.

The accommodation department was controlled by the KMC‘s administration director and it was called the Labour Welfare
Office. After 2001, a new section was established as the Accommodation Department under the DCO Secretariat to allot
CDGK housing. The city government has yet to prepare a centralised policy to accommodate its staff. For example, the fire
brigade and medical departments are allotting flats or quarters to their staff without consulting the accommodation
department.

                                                            51
This department has only eight officials, including one district officer and an assistant district officer. The City Council had
approved a resolution (No. 144/2007) on February 20 and handed over the responsibility to this department to carry out a
survey of all city government accommodations.

Only two officials serve as clerks in the morning and later as inspectors to carry out surveys in different colonies, DO Khatri
said. But this means that less than 20 percent of the survey was completed in the last six months. Officials in the W&S
department said that they were only doing maintenance work when they received quotations from the accommodation
department. ―Funds for maintenance are very limited and officials have been requested to increase the amount in the next
budget,‖ he said. Sources said that around two months ago the nazim met representatives of the Association of Builders
and Developers (ABAD) for more employee housing.
(By Jamil Khan, DailyTimes-B1, 19/09/2007)



                                  Regularisation of all katchi abadis pledged
KARACHI, Sept 19: Sindh Local Government Minister Mohammad Hussain said on Wednesday that the lease granted to
katchi abadis of Clifton was not a favour to the area inhabitants but their basic right which had been denied by the
governments in the past.

Talking to a six-member delegation from Bath Island‘s Tekri Colony, led by UC Nazim Mohammad Khalid, the minister
described the grant a proof of commitment and sincerity of the government towards the masses.
He said all the notified katchi abadis, not only in Karachi but all over the province, were being granted lease to develop a
sense of ownership and security amongst their inhabitants. He made it clear that there was no truth in the rumours that
localities of some particular linguistic group were not being granted lease.

The minister said that about 60 katchi abadis in the province were given lease during the last eight months while lease work
in respect of 70 other areas was in progress.
He asked Sindh Katchi Abadis Authority Director Dr Asghar Shaikh to immediately establish a camp office in Tekri Colony
and expedite the survey and issuance of challan forms to the area occupants.

Mr Hussain said the present leadership was serving the downtrodden without any discrimination.
He said the next election would provide an opportunity to the 98 per cent oppressed majority to elect sincere and devoted
representatives and, therefore, they should use their right of franchise with utmost care and caution.

The delegation members thanked the minister for taking personal interest in addressing the long-pending problem.
(Dawn-18, 20/09/2007)



                                 Army Welfare Trust taken to court over land
KARACHI: NGO Shehri‘s Amber Alibhai and Mehfoozun Nabi Khan have challenged in court the Army Welfare Trust‘s
(AWT) allotment of five acres of playground to Makro Habib Ltd on a 30-year lease.
A division bench of the Sindh High Court (SHC) put the Ministry of Defense and Military Estate Officer, Karachi on notice on
Wednesday in the Webb playground case after hearing the arguments of the petitioners.

According to documents placed on the court file, the AWT and Makro Habib entered into an agreement for a lease for an
initial term of 30 years for an annual rent of Rs 17.5 million per annum. An amount of Rs 100 million was paid in advance
rent by the lessee.

Khan argued the petition at length by tracing the historical background of the playground that he said is in one of the most
congested localities of Karachi. He said that the land belong to the defunct Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), now
the City District Government Karachi (CDGK).

Since the establishment of Pakistan and the rehabilitation of refugees from India, the land was used by young people for
recreational activities and thus commercializing it would have a negative impact on the city‘s environment, the petitioners
submitted, citing the CDGK, Lines Area Development Project director, KBCA chief controller, Sindh environment secretary,
Army Welfare Trust general manager and Makro Habib Ltd as respondents.

At the end of Wednesday‘s hearing, the petitioners informed the bench that a status quo order passed by the court on
August 22, 2007 was being violated. CDGK EDO Law Manzoor Ahmed also raised the issue and hoped that the
respondents would leave the remaining portion of the ground as it is.

Counsel for Makro Habib Ltd Justice (retd) Mushtaq A Memon submitted that no violation of status quo was caused. He
referred to the report of the Nazir of the SHC in this respect. The soft-spoken and normally cool EDO Law grew enraged at
this response and remarked that ―the Nazir has just put on his signature on the report‖. This was a very serious allegation,
shouted back the counsel.

Shehri‘s Alibhai submitted that she has photographed the place with a camera that includes the date on each print. She
suggested taking more photographs so that the court itself could judge whether the court order for the maintenance of the
status quo was violated or not.

The court agreed to her suggestion and also to that of the counsel for Makro Habib Ltd that a judicial officer must
accompany the petitioner when the photographs are taken. The court appointed Deputy Registrar Sanaullah Ghauri to
supervise the photography while the Makro Habib Ltd counsel was asked to facilitate.
The bench later put off the hearing till next Wednesday (Sept 26) and ordered the issuance of notices to the Military Estate
Officer (MEO) of Karachi and the Ministry of Defense to establish the ownership or title of the land.

The petitioner maintains that the only recreational spot in the area was leased out to Makro overnight thereby depriving
students, young people and players of the area from the only place for such recreation.
                                                              52
The agreement between AWT and Makro Habib is also invalid on moral grounds as the AWT claims to be a welfare
organization but its work is contrary to its name, the counsel for the petitioner submitted.
The petitioners prayed the court to declare that Karachi needs more playgrounds, libraries, recreation spots, declare that
the Webb ground be used only as a playground and direct the official respondents to restore it.
(By AR Qureshi, DailyTimes-B1, 20/09/2007)



                            Survey for regularisation of over 800 villages soon
KARACHI, Sept 20: The Sindh government has ordered survey of 808 goths (villages) located in the limits of Karachi for
the purpose of granting them lease rights.
A high-powered committee has been set up to prepare and submit a report in this regard by Nov 15 after which the lease
process will be started.

Officials at the meeting said that Karachi had been divided into six zones to solve the lingering problem of regularisation of
a large number of goths and their infrastructure uplift. A survey of the 808 goths, falling in these zones, with the help of
modern Geographic Information System (GIS) was planned.

Provincial Revenue Minister Dr Irfan Gul Magsi on Thursday chaired a meeting in his office to discuss the plan. Senior
Member of the Board of Revenue Syed Anwar Haider, Director General of the Malir Development Authority Amirzada
Kohati, Project Director of the Goth Abad Scheme Abdul Jabbar Abbasi, Director of the Malir Development Authority
Sarfaraz Ahmed Khan, Director Settlements Tariq Memon, CDGK District Revenue Officer Fiasal Uqaili, Mukhtiarkar of the
Goth Abad Scheme Asif Jan Siddiqui and Superintendent City Survey Department Mohammad Khan Samo attended the
meeting.

The meeting reviewed the issues relating to the actual area, present delimitation, survey and leasing/ownership rights of
each goth. It gave final shape to the six zones — Gadap Town, Bin Qasim Town, Malir Town, MDA, LDA and Keamari
Town — for the purpose of conducting the survey.

A committee was also constituted to prepare a comprehensive Deh-wise report based on the presence of goths in the
relevant Deh maps as per the survey of 1996.

Dr Magsi told the meeting that modern equipment would be provided to the teams conducting the survey to ensure
transparency and fair play.
He noted that the 1996 survey showed existence of 808 goths in Karachi. Some of these goths had already been
regularised and the remaining ones had to be regularised after necessary procedures, he added. The minister said that
land-grabbing in the name of goths and Goth Abad Scheme must now be brought to an end.

A central committee has been set up to monitor and facilitate the survey process. The survey would be based on the list of
goths prepared on the basis of the 1996 cut-off date and includes the goths shown in the old revenue department maps.

Dr Magsi said that no one would be allowed to set up an illegal goth or occupy government land in the name of a goth.
He observed that residents of legitimate goths had been waiting for ownership rights of their residences for long and the
government would fulfill its commitment of granting them the rights at all costs.

However, he added, stern action would be taken against land-grabbers and the mafia involved in such practices.

The high-powered committee set up at the meeting comprises the following officials:

Gadap Town Zone: Project director of the Goth Abad Scheme, director settlement survey, district officer revenue, Karachi,
survey superintendent and the mukhtiarkar concerned.

Bin Qasim Town Zone: ADO revenue, mukhtiarkar and a representative of settlement survey.

Malir Town Zone: ADO revenue, mukhtiarkar and a representative of the settlement survey.

MDA Zone: Director estate MDA, Goth Abad mukhtiarkar and a representative of settlement survey.

LDA Zone: Director estate LDA, Goth Abad mukhtiarkar and a representative of settlement survey.

Keamari Town Zone: ADO revenue, mukhtiarkar and a representative of settlement survey.
(Dawn-19, 21/09/2007)



                               KBCA to get police help for laws’ enforcement
KARACHI, Sept 21: A police station is to be placed at the disposal of the Karachi Building Control Authority to enforce the
provisions of the Sindh Building Control Ordinance (SBCO), 1979, and judicial orders passed under it, the Sindh High Court
ordered on Friday.

A division bench comprising Justices Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Ali Sain Dino Metlo was hearing a petition against the
KBCA failure to comply with a high court order for demolition of an unauthorized structure at Lyari. Advocate Shahid Jamil
Khan, counsel for the authority, said a KBCA demolition squad sent to the site to comply with the court order met a stiff
resistance from the builder and occupants of the unlawfully constructed building. Police were requested to provide the
necessary assistance but they were unable to depute a contingent.

Additional Advocate-General Sarwar Khan said police assistance could be provided on a case-to-case basis provided the
town police officer concerned was informed three days in advance of the demolition operation. A city district government

                                                             53
police station was already functioning at the Civic Centre and its services could be acquired for the purpose. The station in-
charge, Deputy Superintendent of Police M. Zubair, also assured assistance to the KBCA.

Vehemently contesting the claim, the KBCA counsel said the CDG police station was set up after merger of the (defunct)
Karachi Development Authority and the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation police stations. According to the relevant home
department notification issued in 2005, the police station was to deal specifically with CDG campaigns against
encroachments. Though it worked under the overall supervision of the city nazim and the district co-ordination officer, the
station was not empowered to take cognizance of offences under the SBCO.

The counsel said over 500 cases involving alleged non-compliance of court orders were pending and the KBCA had to
expend a lot of time and resources defending itself against contempt allegations. The authority could not discharge its
functions in the absence of police assistance and that was why it had moved a petition for amendments to the SBCO for
establishment of a separate police station and appointment of a special magistrate.

The bench ordered that the 2005 notification issued by the home department should be amended by October 18 to bring
the SBCO and orders passed under it within the remit of the police station. A copy of the amended notification would be
placed before it. The capital city police officer was also asked to issue directions to the town police officers to provide the
necessary assistance to the KBCA. Supervised by a DSP, the Civic Centre police station has four inspectors, 12 head
constables and 86 constables.

Builder to pay cost
The builder-developer of Greenbelt Residency, Clifton, was, meanwhile, directed by Justice Nadeem Azhar Siddiqui to
deposit Rs100,000 with the court nazir within a week. Petitioner Suraiya Jatoi, wife of Advocate Z.K. Jatoi, was allowed to
carry out the finishing and other work necessary to make the apartment booked by her habitable. She would also be
allocated space in the reserved car parking area. The builder had earlier provided her car parking on the ramp of the
complex in pursuance of an earlier court order. The petitioner would submit the bill for finishing work supervised by her to
the court nazir, who would release the requisite amount out of the deposit made by the builder, who would appear in the
court on October 5 to report compliance.

Action against milk sellers
The bench headed by Justice Osmany, meanwhile, passed a consent order stipulating action against the overcharging milk
retailers under the 2006 provincial law. The 1977 federal law against profiteering and hoarding hitherto being enforced by
the city district government provided for two years imprisonment and Rs100,000 in fine. The provincial law prescribes only
three months‘ jail and Rs10,000 as fine and the petitioner milk sellers wanted to be prosecuted under it. The city
government had no objection to the plea pending the petition for an agreed milk price. The retailers are to sell milk at the
court-fixed price of Rs32 per litre and could be booked under the provincial anti-profiteering law if they charge more.
(Dawn-17, 22/09/2007)



                          Plea of former KBCA chief in corruption case rejected
KARACHI, Sept 22: The Special Anti-Corruption Judge, Karachi, Syed Gul Munir Shah, on Saturday rejected the
application of former controller of the Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) Brig (Retd) A.S. Nasir for cancellation of a
corruption case against him.
The application was moved on June 16, 2007. The judge, after hearing the arguments from both the defence and state‘s
counsel, observed that the application was not maintainable.

The accused had filed another such application under Section 249-A of the Criminal Procedure Code (power of magistrate
to acquit accused at any stage), which was already rejected on March 17, 2007.

The court observed that the references given in the application were irrelevant and meant only to prolong the matter.
It was stated that the application was moved under wrong provision of the law and was rejected. The court had indicted six
persons on Sept 15 who had pleaded not guilty and opted to contest the case.

The other accused is owner of Gul Plaza, Gul Mohammad Khanani. The co-accused are senior building controller Ali Zafar
Qadri, town building control officer Syed Mehmood Ali, district controller buildings Abdul Rehman Ansari and assistant
controller buildings Ahsan.

They were charged under Pakistan Penal Code Sections 161 (public servant taking gratification other than legal
remuneration in respect of an official act), 162 (taking gratification, in order, by corrupt or illegal means, to influence public
servant), 163 (taking gratification, for exercise of personal influence with public servant), 409 (criminal breach of trust by
public servant or by banker, merchant or agent), 419 (punishment for cheating by personation), 420 (cheating and
dishonestly inducing of property), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471/34 (using as genuine a forged document)
read with Section 5(2) of the Provision of Corruption Act, 1947.

The charge related to plot PR-I/32, Preedy Quarters, Karachi, now a big centre of imported items.

The former KBCA chief and four officials of the division concerned were charged with their complicity with the owner in
allowing him to use an area reserved for car parking to construct shops.

According to the prosecution, the approval that they had given was contrary to the provision of Section 5-C of the Sindh
Regularization Control Ordinance, 2002.

They were charged with processing and approving the building plan by employing corrupt means and abusing their position
as public servants by illegally favouring the owner allegedly for millions of rupees.

The court fixed Oct 20 as the next date for the hearing and directed the prosecutors to produce evidence against the
accused.
(By Ali Hazrat Bacha, Dawn-17, 23/09/2007)

                                                               54
                                            Changes in values, lifestyles
                                                  By Arif Hasan
CHANGES in the social values and lifestyles of the elite and middle classes in Karachi are all too visible. However, the
changes in the social values and lifestyles of the lower and lower middle classes are hidden from view. The most visible
expression of the change that has taken place in these classes is the emergence of young couples holding hands or sitting
with their arms around each other on the benches in the parks in the city.

This behaviour is surprisingly tolerated by the other visitors (even bearded ones) to the parks and has led in some cases to
the segregation of spaces among families, male visitors and couples. As one waiter at Hill Park put it, ―There is nothing you
can do about this. You cannot quarrel with the zamana.‖

In an attempt to understand this phenomenon, I have over the last five years interviewed or had a questionnaire filled by
100 young couples in parks and at the Sea View beach. They all belong to the lower and lower middle classes. Of these,
28 couples were married. Of the 100 women, 32 wore the hijab and 68 wore a black or grey ‗aba‘. Only 18 couples were
interested in politics and/or read political news in the newspapers. Eighty-three were interested in migrating to another
country towards which seven married couples and 16 unmarried men had taken some steps.

The reasons for wanting to migrate were in order of importance; one, there was no justice in Pakistan; two, they would
never be able to own a place to live in; three, married couples were afraid that they would not be able to educate their
children properly; four, there was no affordable entertainment and recreation; five, there were too many family disputes
often related to behaviour patterns of the young which they considered hypocritical; and six, they lived, worked and
travelled in terrible environmental conditions.

These couples certainly do not constitute the majority of young people in lower and lower middle-income settlements in
Karachi but they are definitely trendsetters as their numbers are rapidly increasing.

What has brought about this very visible change apart from TV and the ―trickle down‖ of the lifestyles of the more affluent
sections of society? I feel that the most important reason is that for the first time in our history we have a very large number
of unmarried female adolescents. In the 1981 census, 37.54 per cent women and 13.14 per cent men in the age group of
15 to 24 were married. If we project the 1998 census figures to 2007 then less than 20 per cent of women and six per cent
of men in this age group are married today.

Also, the low-income settlements that I knew in the 1970s and 1980s have changed. Then they were purely working class
settlements and women did not work. Today, there are doctors, engineers, formal sector entrepreneurs, persons employed
in the corporate and IT sectors, bank managers, college and school teachers (the majority of them women), living in these
settlements. This is a sea change.

In order to know more I discussed the changes that I have noticed with older residents and the more upwardly mobile
community members of low-income settlements. They agreed that the major change that has taken place is the break-up of
the extended or joint family and this has played a key role in the change of values and behaviour patterns. Among the
reasons given for the break-up of the joint family is that previously there was one earning member and others were
dependents. Today, there are many earning members and hence the patriarchal structure cannot survive.

Money from abroad was also cited as a reason for the break-up of the family since it created jealousies and the nuclear
family of the person sending it broke away from the rest. In addition, working women have also adversely affected the joint
family system for it has led to quarrels and disputes. My friend Mansoor Raza‘s survey of people sleeping in the streets
revealed that the majority of them consisted of young men who had run away from home and old men who had been
abandoned by their families.

People are not conscious of the changes that have taken place and as a result are confused. For instance, one person
reported how, after much heartburning and violence, he agreed to let his daughter marry out of his caste and how terrified
he was of what the reaction of his clan would be. However, there was no reaction except for a few elders being sarcastic —
his peers did not particularly care. ―The traditions are gone but we do not know it for out of fear we do not discuss these
things,‖ was his conclusion.

Older residents agreed that an increasing number of youth are ―undisciplined‖ and violent gangs are emerging in their
localities. One of the reasons given for this is that parents have become more liberal because of a ―change in the times‖.
Other reasons given are unemployment and the terrible state of public education and its uselessness. An increasing
number of young people are doing their Matric and Intermediate and after that they are not willing to do manual labour.

Meanwhile, jobs that are available in the market require technical skills and more and more of them require formal ―sanads‖
and not just experience with an ustad. These jobs are mostly in the textile, medical and construction industry. However,
there are no educational centres where one can be trained for these jobs. Those that do exist are too few and far too
expensive. For example, there is a great demand for male nurses but there are only five institutions that one can apply to.
Admission fee to these institutions is between Rs30,000 to Rs40,000 and the monthly fee is between Rs2,000-3,000.

The rising gap between poverty and wealth is a major factor in the social and political alienation of the young in the lower
and lower middle income groups as aspirations increase but resources and opportunities do not. The solution lies in the
development of good public sector educational institutions equal to those of the elite and in the teaching of English. For
example, it was mentioned in one of the discussions that at a private school a normal female teacher earns about Rs1,500
to Rs3,000 a month whereas someone who is good in English can get up to Rs8,000 to Rs10,000 a month.

Private schools are expensive and often a family has to choose which of its children it will send to them. In the absence of
an affordable and useful public school education system more and more students are being sent to madressahs. ―At least
they learn how to read and write there and without reading and writing there is no future today.‖ ―In a government school
they learn nothing but corruption from their teachers.‖ ―These are not schools, they resemble aasar-i-qadeema. No water,
no toilets, no furniture, broken floors and collapsing roofs.‖ These were some of the comments that were made during the
discussions.

                                                              55
I conclude from the discussions I had that we will have a very different society in Karachi in the next decade. It also points
to the need for a major reform in the education and social sectors and in state culture along with corresponding changes in
city planning priorities. If that does not happen, political and social alienation will increase and so will the chances of conflict
and further fragmentation.
(By Arif Hasan, Dawn-7, 24/09/2007)



                                             Taking the ‘Guzz’ out of Gizri
At one time, Gizri was not a fashionable address. Today, it stands in the centre of the upmarket Defence Housing Authority
and property rates here have multiplied several times. But the differences are stark. Unlike the DHA, the state of municipal
care at Gizri is poor. And yet, people who can afford it flock to this locality, which was once a fishing village.

Most of the people here are middle and lower middle class employees and workers. In some ways it is the centre of activity
but with a difference — unlike the DHA which surrounds it from almost all sides, this is a locality that is almost as old as
Karachi itself.

People say that the word ―Gizri‖ comes from the term ―Guzz‖ which is Urdu means ―yard.‖ Gizri was once famous for its
stone - and in some houses even today once can see large boulders jutting out.
This stone was used, amongst other things, for making tombstones. A guzz (yard) of stone. And hence the name.

People from post partition days also remember Gizri for its ―Ack-Ack School.‖ A military training school which has been
converted today into the much beautiful Zamazama Park.

But all is not well in Gizri. Residents are facing severe problems with regard to sewerage disposal and shortage of water.
Fifty per cent of the population does not have a supply of drinking water at its disposal and is compelled to acquire water by
means of water tankers.

The sewerage problem is also one of the main concerns for area residents. There are some places where rainwater is still
accumulated due to the heavy rainfalls that took place a few weeks ago.

Garbage disposal is another headache in this locality. Usually, residents discard their garbage at Hasan Zaheer Shaheed
Road. And that is where it stays before it is picked up.

Gizri is a part of the Union Council (UC) 11, Kehkashan, Saddar Town. It has a population of around 25,000 people. It is
commonly believed that this locality existed as far back as a hundred years ago. At that time, it was populated by a majority
of fishermen.
The locality of Gizri is spread over 85 acres. The area is leased and was awarded to the locality in 1988. There are a total
of 8,000 registered voters here. Pakhtoons and Punjabis occupy a large part of this area, whereas the Sindhis and the
Brohi Balochis constitute the rest of the inhabitants.

Fishermen also live in this area. There is a place in Gizri named ‗Machhi Para‘ where fishermen still reside today. Although
they are the oldest inhabitants of this locality, their number does not exceed 3,000 people. Most of the fishermen of Gizri
have migrated to Ibrahim Haideri, a fishing village on the outskirts of the city, after selling their land in Gizri.

Not very long ago, Gizri used to have an archaic feel to it. The residents used to live in huts and the overall environment
was not very appealing. Now, however, it has emerged as one of the several modern areas of our metropolitan city.
One may also see a series of apartments here. Since this area is adjacent to the DHA, real estate values have risen
dramatically.

In Gizri, a school called Ibrahim Ali Bhai accommodates eight different schools during different hours of the day. These
schools are for both boys and girls. There is no government dispensary in the area. However, there is one maternity home
here namely, the Gizri Maternity Home run by the City District Government Karachi (CDGK).

The UC Nazim, Ramazan Awan who is representing the people of this area in the local government body for the fourth time
said that generally this locality is considered free of any ethnic or religious conflicts.
He then noted that there is a severe problem of manpower with regard to lifting garbage and managing sewage in the area.
At present, only eight people are working to lift garbage, whereas at least 30 more are needed for this purpose.
―A while back the town administration asked me to nominate people who will be appointed as garbage lifters. I submitted
applications for such individuals but nothing has materialised so far,‖ he said.
He then requested the Clifton Cantonment Board (CCB) to lift garbage from Hasan Zaheer Shaheed Road. He also said
that there is only one pumping station supplying water to the residents and this was established in 1988.

Since then, the population of the area has increased at a great pace and one pumping station is no longer sufficient to
serve the whole community. Hence, he informed, that another pumping station will be set up in the locality in the middle of
Ramazan which will help improve the situation.
A fishing village turning into a major city centre is not always good news. The charm of Gizri, say its old residents, is now
fading away.
(By Qadeer Tanoli, The News-19, 24/09/2007)



                                                    The Saga of Lal Pul
In the previous articles, I described how the Government of Punjab‘s decision to construct an underpass where Lal Pul
once stood over Lahore‘s Canal was poor urban planning. (Such development planning flies in the face of what we now
know of the total failure of similar projects in the past.) I also described how it was against the law (the government has
repeatedly violated the mandatory requirement of a public hearing to discuss the environmental impacts and alternatives of
such projects). Today, I will show how the demolition of Lal Pul and the subsequent construction of this underpass —
named after someone called Gulzar — is massive misallocation of resources.
                                                                56
The underpass cost Rs480 million, and everyone hopes are that it will be worth the money. Consider the following:

1. There does not appear to be any rationale justifying this project. Lal Pul — the site of this new underpass — was torn
down in 2003 as part of a plan to make Canal Road a signal-free corridor through the city. At the time, the Powers that Be
were of the opinion that traffic across the bridge could be sacrificed for the signal-free corridor. Now, four years later, an
underpass is replacing the same link between Garden Town and Muslim Town. What was the point of tearing down the
bridge when the cost of replacing it would be so high? Are the Rs480 million justified when the percentage of traffic
between the Muslim Town and Garden Town residential areas is (and here I quote from a Nespak assessment of the
project) little more than 6% of the total traffic on that segment of the Canal?

2. There are other traffic arteries that connect Lahore to the other urban areas of Punjab. I am a regular commuter to the
District Courts of Sheikhupura and can testify to the imminent danger posed by the rapidly eroding road and embankment
between Bund Road and Saggian Bridge. Surely the money would have been better spent on repairing the road (and
preventing loss or life or damage to property). The road conditions in and around Badami Bagh area (or any other of
Lahore‘s less affluent areas) and the Ravi are dismal and should be a scandal for the local and provincial administration.
Access to the motorway from the Babu Sabu interchange is another alternative that can be explored for no other reason but
that it saves a trip all the way down the Canal. One can only wonder at the reasons for placing the Lal Pul underpass
project over other, desperately-needed, transport development projects.

3. The chief minister‘s recent claim, made after he got caught, like a mere mortal, in a traffic jam on the way to a surprise
visit to the underpass construction site, that the Gulzar underpass would streamline access to the Motorway is to be taken
with a pinch of salt. As large transport vehicles are not permitted to ply the city‘s roads in any case, this so-called access to
the Motorway along the Canal is only for privately owned light transport vehicles. In other words, the Government of Punjab
approved the expenditure of nearly half-a-billion rupees just to give private automobiles quicker access to the Motorway.
Forgive me for sounding like an oddball, but I think the money could have been better spent on investment elsewhere on
the city‘s road transport network. For instance, it could have been spent to acquire busses and on a large public campaign
to get automobile users to opt for public transport. (Food for thought: other cities, even in Third World countries, have
performed successful experiments with investment in similar grade-separated transport infrastructure.)

4. In any case, if streamlined access to the Motorway was the imperative driving the government‘s policy, then what was
the need for the tunnel being constructed under the Lahore Canal connecting two sleepy residential areas. My best guess
is that the chief minister was attempting to explain how the existing volume of traffic crossing the Canal from one of the
residential areas to the other was responsible for traffic congestion at the intersections of Ferozepur Road and Shiekh
Zayed Road. But shouldn‘t the remedy for such congestion be the remodelling of those intersections rather than felling over
500 hundred trees to make way for more cement?

On the face of it, therefore, the Lal Pul/Gulzar underpass project doesn‘t make any sense at the rational level. To commit
such a large sum of taxpayers‘ money to this specific project is nothing less than an unpardonable misallocation of
resources.

But one can pick at the merits of this project all day. What is more interesting is its motive. The seemingly unnecessary
tunnel under the Canal will connect Wahdat Road to the site of a massive construction site on Ferozepur Road. This is the
construction site for the $500 million Sheikh Zayed Complex, a mega-project undertaken by Taavun (Pvt.) Ltd., a holding
company formed through a partnership between the Abu Dhabi Group (of Warid, Wateen, UBL and Bank Alfalah fame) and
the Government of Punjab. The Complex is an unimaginably massive undertaking (consider: the vertigo-inducing
excavation at the site is in order to accommodate a 4,000-car parking facility). It even has its own entry in Wikipedia! When
construction is over in 2010, one of the four towers of the Complex will rise to a height of 1,947 feet (yes, 1947!). It will be
the tallest building in South Asia and promises to give visitors to an observation deck the opportunity to glimpse the
twinkling lights of the Golden Temple all the way over in neighbouring Amritsar.

It is simply too much of a coincidence that the Gulzar underpass project will facilitate access to the Complex from the Canal
and Wahdat Road. Could it be, then, that the Government of Punjab is changing the face of the historic city of Lahore to
facilitate commercial interests? Regardless of the jobs and money such a development will inevitably haul in, if this
hypothesis is true, then it means that the government‘s urban development policy and agenda is determined solely by
foreign investment and not at all by the laws of the land. One can only question this type of leadership.

This is the saga of Lal Pul. It is a tale of haphazard urban development. It is a tale of evasion of the law. It is a tale of
massive misallocation of resources. It is a example of how and for what reasons development projects are undertaken in
our Islamic Republic. And if one thing can be learnt from this tale, it should be that urban Pakistan now has enough
experience to critically evaluate spurious urban planning offered to us as the Solution to Our Problems. This is crucially
important, for in another 10 years, more than half of Pakistan will live in our cities. Of course, they won‘t have the money to
live in the Sheikh Zayed Complex or to buy a car to drive on the ―signal-free‖ Canal. But if urban development remains
nothing more than an exercise in spreading development funds wherever they can stick, then I paraphrase Mr. Justice M R
Kayani, and say that ―Allah knows best, and I end this report.‖
(By Ahmad Rafey Alam, The News-6, 24/09/2007)



                                       Stay order, ray of hope for Noonaris
In their struggle for the ownership of their lands, the community of Noonaris has found a ray of hope. The ‗stay order‘
granted by the Sindh High Court, for the salt manufacturing factories which were occupied by land grabbing mafia has
come in the nick of time to save the Noonaris inheritance.

The Salt fields, along the road to Sands pit, Hawkes Bay and Paradise Point beaches near Mauripur, were granted to the
Noonaris by the British government in the year 1890. The Noonaris owned two Salt manufacturing factories one of which
was illegally obtained by the mafia with the help of forged documents.
With the help of the ‗stay order‘ the community was able to stop the construction work going on in their factory by the mafia
and also force down the wall built by the illegal occupants to keep the real owners out.


                                                              57
Hakimabad, the head of the Noonari community, told The News that factory‘s work is spread over 40 acres of land and with
the help of the stay order the land grabbers stopped their work.

Moreover, a woman activist, Nisa tells us that the area police instead of helping the community is working on the
instructions of the influential land mafia. The police harass these people when they try to protest for their causes, instead of
supporting them.

The area was occupied by land grabbers when the community had to vacate the salt fields when they felt threatened by
high tides. The community had to move to the other side of the Mauripur road, at this time the mafia occupied their land.

According to a septuagenarian member of the community, Abdul, the community had always lived on their salt fields where
they worked, but with growing numbers over the years they had move away in order to find more living space and new
livelihood.

Nisa adds that the community has not felt safe or secure since the death of the former Prime Minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

The salt fields granted by the British government were not saleable or rent able to any party except the Noonaris salt
manufacturers. The fields covered about 2720 acres; however, gradually the community has lost about 2000 acres to land
grabbers.
(By Shahid Shah, The News-19, 24/09/2007)



                                  Plazas raising risky floors as law looks on
RAWALPINDI, Sept 24: The construction of high-rise plazas in commercial and residential localities continues unchecked,
the lessons of the terrible earthquake that flattened northern Pakistan and Azad Kashmir on October 8, 2005, seem to have
been forgotten by the town planners and the municipal authorities who are allowing such buildings to come up in violation
of the rules that were framed after the tragedy.

Addition of unauthorised floors above the prescribed height limits that most owners of the so-called plazas have
surreptitiously made in violation of building by-laws has rendered the multi-storey structures vulnerable and hazardous.

In Rawalpindi city, along with the construction of illegal plazas, the unauthorised construction of private schools and
hospitals is also going on.
The owners of the buildings have not obtained the required ‗No objection certificates‘ (NOCs) from the town municipal
administration (TMA), Rawal Town, or the City district government, Rawalpindi.

These huge structures can be seen on the Sixth Road, Saidpur Road, Satellite Town, Murree Road and Bank Road. An
owner who had got the NOC for building a four-storey plaza has added one or two additional floors to his building
unlawfully.

Official sources said that the owner of a multi-billion plaza at the corner of Sixth Road has been given approval of
constructing four floors. He, however, constructed an additional floor without getting approval from the concerned
department.

Another plaza along Sixth Road has not reserved the required 15 feet setback area and has rather encroached upon 15
feet area of the nearby road.
A multi-storey building, recently built near Ojhri Camp on Murree Road has been granted NOC for constructing a basement
and two floors but the owner has illegally constructed two more floors in excess of the approved height.

Sources in the Building Branch of TMA, Rawal Town, told Dawn that the owner of a private hospital near Haidri Chowk at
Saidpur Road had illegally constructed a basement and two floors against the prescribed limit.

Even more common is the unchecked construction of unauthorised projections, balconies, porches and galleries in
residential and commercial houses infringing the limits in the approved maps.
These illegally built structures have no car parking facility. As a result the service roads and side lanes particularly along
Murree Road are freely being encroached upon causing frequent traffic jams.

The unauthorised construction of multi-story plazas not only deprives city government of taxes but also poses serious
threat to human lives.

After the October 8 earthquake, some building codes were declared mandatory during the construction of buildings but in
Rawalpindi these codes are yet to be implemented in any Town or locality of the city.

A private schools chain in the city has constructed its new campus on the Sixth Road for which TMA, Rawal Town, had
granted NOC limiting construction to three storeys but the owners have illegally built a basement and two additional floors
without seeking permission for the extension. The expanded campus building is now occupying the parking lots also.

When contacted Rawal Town Nazim Sheikh Rashid Shafique confirmed that majority of the plazas had illegally constructed
additional floors and basements besides not leaving space for parking. He said that TMA Rawal Town would serve notices
on the owners who had violated building rules.

A senior official in district administration told this reporter that 98 per cent private schools in residential areas were
operating without commercialising their status.

When asked why the municipal authorities were not taking any action against the owners for violation of by-laws, the official
said that the owners were influential people and had the backing of the city‘s politicians. It shows that the department
concerned is reluctant to take any action against the violators of building by-laws.
(By Inamullah Khattak, Dawn-2, 25/09/2007)

                                                              58
                               Commuters face gridlock on Chundrigar Road
Commuters on I.I. Chundrigar Road faced traffic gridlocks due to lane violations and wrong turns by many vehicle drivers,
which impeded traffic flow on the major artery. Uncontrolled parking and the debris along the road reduced the width of
road by almost two lanes thus adding to congestion in evening peak hours on Monday.

Soon after the offices closed up for the day, a heavy flow of traffic made its way onto Chundrigar, only to face massive
bumper-to-bumper traffic congestion that turned into gridlocks at a few spots - especially near the Jang Press intersection.
Impatient commuters took random turns (u turns at many points) thus blocking the flow of traffic.

The sources in the traffic police helpline said that the debris of the dug up portion coupled with angular and double parking
had reduced the width of the road. They further said that the traffic police had asked the city government, in an unequivocal
manner, to remove the debris from the road so that it could be utilised to its maximum capacity.

Although the city government had carpeted I.I. Chundrigar Road, the stretches along the footpaths that were dug up for
laying sewerage and other utility lines left behind debris that push the parking well into the second lane, thus reducing the
width of the road.

In the morning, the closure of Sindh Assembly Road on account of the hearing of cases regarding the May 12 carnage also
caused congestion on M.R. Kiyani Road, along the Arts Council roundabout, and at Burns road intersection.
(The News-13, 25/09/2007)



                                   Residents complain of rising road levels
The rising level of roads in Defence Phase 8, Sector A is a new cause for concern for residents of the area. With the
increase in road levels, the plinth level of the houses in the sector has notably decreased.

Residents fear that in case of rain, water from these newly-raised roads will gush into their houses. Those residing in
Sector A (which exists between Khayaban-e-Ittehad and Khayaban-e-Ghalib) have been living there for the past one or two
years while others have just finished with the construction and are ready to move in their newly-built houses but now, they
are confused whether or not they should do so. ―How can I think of shifting in a house that will be filled with water when it
rains, even though it is almost built,‖ said Col Saeed who is presently living in Sea View apartments.

Like Col Saeed, many residents are completely dissatisfied with the plan to drain out the storm water put forward by the
authorities. They say that this plan would have been very successful, had it been incorporated in the overall plan of Phase
8, ―prior to opening this area for construction.‖
―Although the DHA has been well aware of the ground realities of this phase for a while now, the so-called plan was
incorporated and implemented once a sizeable population began constructing houses over there,‖ allege many
stakeholders of this sector.

The Director, Development Phase 8, Col Zahid Akbar said it is necessary to raise the roads level as Phase 8 exists in the
shape of a bowl. Therefore, the roads had to be raised to build a slope towards the sea and to ensure gravity to drain out
the storm water easily.

He admitted that the driveways of the houses are below the proposed road levels, but he was of the view that the residents
are responsible for this to a large extent. ―They should have been wise enough to keep the plinth higher than the roads,‖ he
said this, while emphasising that the DHA has allowed its residents to raise the plinth of their houses up to three feet, as
according to the DHA construction by-laws, anything higher than this is not allowed.
He said that if the residents had kept the plinths high, they would not have to suffer because, ‖the maximum increase in the
height of the roads is not more than one feet and six (to eight) inches,‖ the director ensured.

There are about 500 houses in Sector A that have been already constructed. However, the DHA official claimed that out of
these 500 houses, only 46 have been affected by these raised roads.

―Why don‘t the remaining 90 per cent houses have this problem?‖ he pointed out adding that the plinth level of 46 other
houses is equal to the road level. The residents are highly enraged with the planning and development work by the
authorities who, they blame, have given them huge financial losses as the residents were not told about the situation prior
to the construction. ―If they had informed us with what their future line of action was, I would have stopped the construction
in the first stage and built my house according to the new plan,‖ said one upset resident.

The present development plan of Phase 8 was approved around July 2005 and the budget for the same was approved only
after two months in September. Due to the fact that the stakeholders were not aware of the plan at the time, a large number
of houses were constructed during this time period.

The development department has proposed a solution to this problem which the residents are not ready to accept. ―We told
the affected residents that we would put up drain at their entrances with underground pipes that will divert water to the
extended drains but the residents refused,‖ said Col Zahid. He also said that he had asked the complainants to give him
some time to work on this, but residents show extreme response and are impatient.


According to a DHA press statement, a meeting of DHA Executive Board chaired by its President Corps commander, Lt
Gen. Ahsan Azhar Hayat, was held at Headquarters 5 Corps here on Thursday. The president has directed the DHA to
review the development plans of Phase 8, particularly the road levels, in view of what happened during the recent rains.

The residents have collectively written to the concerned DHA departments of planning and development as well as the
DHA administrator saying that they do not agree with the solution given by the department and have persistently demanded
a review of the consultancy involved in planning.
(By Aisha Masood, The News-20, 25/09/2007)

                                                             59
                                        Expensive schools get land cheap
ISLAMABAD, Sept 25: Sixteen more schools run by influential people have been allotted land in different sectors of the city
at subsidised rates for establishing their new campuses.
A senior official of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) told Dawn that the allotments were approved by the CDA
Board on Tuesday.

These private schools have received plots measuring one to two acres at the rate of Rs7,450 per square yard.
That means the allottees would pay Rs35 million for one acre plot and twice that for a two acre plot. when the market price
of one acre in H-8, H-11, I-14, I-16 and D-12 sectors, where they got the land, is said to be around Rs160 million.

As an additional facility, the school managements have to pay initially just 25 per cent of the cost and the rest in
instalments.

On the face of it, CDA‘s generosity to the private schools would look misplaced as their owners run them on commercial
basis and charge hefty fees.

The official said that the CDA had received some 59 applications from different schools of which 16 were short- listed.
―We scrutinised these 16 applications under the government‘s approved criteria and allotted plots for new schools,‖ the
official added.

The authority had already allotted 43.16 acres of land to 31 private educational institutions in Islamabad for establishing
their campuses during the last three years.

The educational institutions which have already acquired plots are: Bahria College, Naval Complex (plot No 84, H-11/4);
Headstart School (plot No 80, H-11/4); Bahria Foundation College (plot No 83, H-11/4); ASAS International School (7-S,
Street 141, G-11/4); Global System of Integrated Studies (plot No 5, H-11/1) and Minhajul Quran Welfare Society (plot 22,
H-11/4).

Also, Modern Language School and College (4-S St 124, G- 11/4); Preparatory School (plot 4, H-11/4); Islamabad Science
School and College (plot 23, H-11/4); Hill House Boarding School (plot 25, H-11/4); Foundation Public School (3-S, Street
141, G- 11/4); SLS Montessori and School (6-S, Street 124, G-11/4); Fountain Head School (plot 24, H-11/4); International
Progressive School (plot 62, H-11/4); EMS High School (plot 57, H-11/4) and Roots Montessori (plot 68, H-11/4).

And Tameer-i-Millat Foundation (plot 69, H-11/4); Bright Model School (plot 56, H-11/4); Faran Public School (plot 61, H-
11/4); Modern Institute of Informatics and Management (1-S, Street 94, G-11/3); Khaldunia High School (2-S, Street 94, G-
11/3); Ghazali College for Women (plot 63, H-11/4) and Islamabad Children Academy (plot 64, H-11/4).

The following institutions were allotted plots in rural areas: National Grammar School (Park Road); Siddeeq Public School
(Park Road); Lahore Grammar School (Park Road); Pak International Education System (Park Road); Pak Turk
International (Park Road); Sajid Ideal Model High School (Park Road); Magic Roundabout Nurseries Pakistan (Modern
Urban Shelter Project, Alipur) and Lahore Diocesan Board of Education (Modern Urban Shelter Project, Alipur).
(By Syed Irfan Raza, Dawn-2, 26/09/2007)



                                  New KBCA parking policy open to misuse
KARACHI, Sept 25: While the Karachi Building Control Authority‘s new policy to allow additional floors built specifically as
parking areas in proposed high-rise buildings appears well-intentioned, past experiences suggest that the measure could
be misused by the builders‘ mafia.

The KBCA‘s publicity campaign in this regard is in full swing. Advertisements in the print media claim that the move,
allowing builders to construct parking-specific floors in new buildings in addition to the already mandatory parking spaces,
will ease the pressure from over-burdened roads.

However, sources warn that the proposed policy, which is being pushed through under the garb of public interest, will lead
to increased population density in particularly the downtown central business district. This will, in turn, put further pressure
on the city‘s over-stretched civic infrastructures such as water supply, drainage, road maintenance and electricity supply.

Under the proposed policy, builders will be allowed to construct about four extra car-parking floors. To compensate for the
funds invested in this manner, the KBCA is proposing as an incentive the permission to construct additional floors that may
be sold. The proportion of the incentive is yet to be settled: sources say that a builder constructing four car-parking floors
may be allowed from one to four extra floors that can be sold as commercial / residential space.

Policy exists but rarely implemented
However, KBCA regulations already require a given amount of parking space in every high-rise building, and a large
number of these buildings fulfilled the parking requirements at the design and even construction stages. Yet there is no
shortage of instances when, after completion, the builders refused to hand parking space over to residents and instead sold
it to other establishments or used it for purposes other than parking.

Sources pointed out that not only have private citizens purchased such illegally converted parking spaces, even the
government has been known to follow suit. As an example, they referred to a government office that until recently, operated
from the first floor parking area of a high-rise building on Tariq Road.
In such instances, KBCA officials, who are responsible for ensuring that buildings are constructed according to the
approved plan and that purchasers are given the entire space promised by the builders, have looked the other way.

Meanwhile, the residents bear the brunt of such manoeuvrings. There are numerous instances in Garden and other areas
where builders violated building plans and constructed and then sold illegal floors in high-rise buildings. Residents and civil
society organisations had no option but to approach the courts which, after lengthy legal processes, ordered the demolition

                                                              60
of the illegally-constructed floors. By that time, however, these spaces had usually been occupied by seemingly innocent
parties claiming ignorance about their property‘s illegal status and leading to further complications, said Dawn‘s sources.

The proposed policy to allow additional floors as parking and incentive will come as a windfall for unscrupulous builders
willing to sell off the extra space, commented the sources. Furthermore, it may become difficult to demolish such illegally-
constructed parking spaces since their usage could be converted from parking to residential or commercial, they said. It
cannot be ruled out that an official or politician may exercise his discretionary power under the guise of ‗public interest‘ to
regularise such misuse.

Sources pointed out that a former chief controller of buildings and some of his subordinate officials are currently being tried
by an anti-corruption court for allowing the conversion of parking space into shops in a plaza near the M.A. Jinnah Road
and Garden Road intersection.
The only way drivers and pedestrians could co-exist in peace, they added, was if mandatory parking spaces already
available in high-rise buildings were not misused, all encroachments were removed from the roads and traffic rules were
strictly followed.

Despite repeated attempts by Dawn, KBCA chief Rauf Farooqui could not be contacted for comments.

However, a senior KBCA official confessed on the condition of anonymity that there were a large number of cases where
car-parking floors had been misused. Nevertheless, he maintained, such malpractice would not be allowed this time. Asked
about the few buildings where illegally-utilised parking space was recovered, he informed Dawn that most of these spaces
were still not being used because of security or other reasons. He added that efforts were under way to prepare a policy in
this regard.
(By Bhagwandas, Dawn-17, 26/09/2007)



                              Regularisation of Pakhtuns’ settlement pledged
KARACHI, Sept 25: Sindh Minister for Local Government, Katchi Abadis and Spatial Development Mohammad Hussain
has said he had ordered the officials concerned to conduct a survey of katchi abadis in Landhi immediately so that the
process of regularization of these localities could be initiated.
He was talking to an 11-member delegation of the Pakhtoon-speaking notables of Sherpao Colony, Landhi, which called on
him in his office here on Tuesday.

The meeting was attended by Sardar Khan, the joint in-charge of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement‘s Punjabi-Pakhtun
Organising Committee, and Dr Asghar Shaikh, Director of the Sindh Katchi Abadis Authority.

Mr Hussain said that people living in katchi abadis since the cut off date, i.e. pre-1985 period, had a legitimate right to own
their residences in their respective localities. He observed that katchi abadis were populated by the families from the poor
and lower-middle class, and said these people had long been deprived of the right to own their houses. He pointed out that
all successive governments had kept them on false promises.

The minister said that Pakhtun people also lived in such old settlements but their elected representatives, affiliated with
traditional political and religious parties, had never bothered to look into the problems their electorates had been facing.
―Instead, they deliberately attempted to keep the grievances unattended to create a sense of deprivation among them,‖ he
added.

Lauding the role of Pakhtuns, he said Karachiites were now witnessing a development revolution that would transform
Karachi into a developed city within a short span of time, adding that roads, flyovers, underpasses, etc being developed by
the city government were for the benefit all citizens.
(Dawn-18, 26/09/2007)



                                       Housing schemes in twin cities
                                   SECP asked to check firms’ involvement
ISLAMABAD, Sept 29: In a delayed but precise response, a Senate committee here on Saturday directed the country‘s
apex corporate regulator to stop limited companies from participating in the money-minting business of launching illegal
housing societies in the vicinities of the twin cities.

Many housing schemes in Rawalpindi and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) are being secretly operated by limited
companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP). These limited companies have
pocketed billions of rupees by launching bogus housing schemes, particularly over the last decade, which later defaulted.

However, the SECP has so far failed to unearth any such company, cancel its registration or impose fines on it. These
companies are in the hands of expert managers, mostly hailing from the civil and military bureaucracy and business
community, who know the art of deceiving citizens under the very noses of the commission‘s so-called ‗investigators‘ and
‗commissioners‘.

The subcommittee of the Senate Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights met here in the Parliament
House headed by its convener, Senator Abdul Ghaffar Qureshi.
It directed the SECP to amend, if necessary, its Companies Ordinance of 1984, which had badly failed to deliver,
particularly in the case of real estate business and housing schemes.
―The SECP should take practical steps to remove lacunae from its regulations and rules by consulting jurists and the
people from the legal profession,‖ the committee observed.

Members of the committee were of the view that the SECP should come up with a comprehensive draft law to amend its
existing rules, which do not prohibit companies from running housing societies.

                                                             61
The committee also asked the Capital Development Authority (CDA), Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), SECP and other
relevant government agencies to keep a vigil on highly misleading advertisements placed by these societies from time to
time and keep on warning the gullible general public against such illegal schemes.
It expressed its concerns over the inability of these bodies to apprehend such people at a time when they float such
advertisements and tempt people into ruining their hard-earned money in the name of property investment.

The committee directed the SECP to conduct a probe into the accounts of Gulshan-i-Rehman Housing Society. The
commission was directed to present a report before the committee on the assets, liabilities and other financial matters of
the company within 35 days.

It directed the society, originally registered as a builder/construction company, not to receive further instalments from the
members till the SECP submitted the report.

The committee also directed the Jeddah Town Housing Society to provide complete details of its operations to the
committee in the next meeting.

Speaking on the occasion, the convener of the committee said the mandate of the subcommittee was to look into the affairs
of various housing societies referred to it by the standing committee and which were believed to be either illegal or violated
certain rules or did not fulfil the promises they had made with the small investors.

He said the committee was determined to stop all sorts of irregularities being committed in a number of housing societies
and to make them efficient and their matters transparent without further delay.

―We are making efforts to filter all illegal societies in this process and allow the legal ones to operate and provide their
services to the people,‖ he added.
(By Sher Baz Khan, Dawn-5, 30/09/2007)




OCTOBER
                                                DHA — above the law?
LACK of accountability breeds not only incompetence but asperity and arrogance as well. These ‗undesirable‘ qualities are
unfortunately abundant in almost all of our government and semi-government institutions over the last half century.
Nevertheless most of them are still liable to be challenged in the court of law.

Not so for the DHA. At least that is what they boldly claim even on the cover of their construction bye-laws book, which
arrogantly displayed: ―Submission of a building plan by a plot owner constitutes an irrevocable undertaking by him to abide
by these bye-laws and not to challenge these in any court of law‖.

We saw the ‗Keep DHA Clean‘ and ‗Keep DHA Green‘ signs along with the deteriorating conditions, particularly with regard
to cleanliness, town-planning developments, water supply, sewerage, storm drains, electric supply, streetlights and the
general overcommercialisation in the last three or so decades. The DHA was never so untidy and unhygienic and
dangerous as it stands out today.

See the four-storeyed 100 and 200 square yards islands, with stagnant mosquito- infested rain and sewerage-filthy water,
all around. All this despite the skyrocketing prices of plots, shops, flats, etc, etc. Thanks to the circumstantial forced
migration of the upper and lower middle classes from the central townships to the ‗posh DHA areas‘ in the early 1990s and
then again in the last four to five years.

―Better late than never‖. The formation of the Defence Residence Association is a bold and courageous step in the right
direction at last. It will be a long road march to improve the living conditions in the DHA, one of the so-called top posh
residential areas of Karachi. At least this is what one may hope today.
IJTABA ZAIDI, Karachi
(Dawn-6, Letter to the Editor, 01/10/2007)



                                             Housing’s tough challenge
THE United Nations commemorates World Habitat Day on the first Monday of October every year, thus providing an
opportunity to take stock of the housing and shelter situation and community issues across the globe. In Pakistan, the
status of human habitat is far from satisfactory.

Conservative statistics inform us that there is a shortage of more than 19.3 million housing units in the country.

This figure keeps increasing with each passing year. It is disappointing to note that while knowledge about habitat-related
issues has increased substantially thanks to research and documentation by various institutions, the response of
policymakers has been inadequate. This betrays a lack of awareness of the nature and magnitude of the problem.

It is officially recognised that more than half the population in Pakistan subsists on less than two dollars a day. The capacity
to build up any monetary asset to acquire shelter of even a basic kind is simply non-existent. People survive either as
nomads or dwell in the wild terrains of various regions.

The breakdown of the village economy — which was largely barter-oriented — has had a grave impact on the marginalised

                                                              62
population. The landless artisans and labourers do not find sustainable access to land for housing. They keep moving from
place to place.

Natural calamities, disasters and security hazards have also uprooted thousands of people from their native habitat.
Pakistan‘s continued participation in the war on terror has caused sizable displacement of many communities from the
central tribal belts of the NWFP and northern Balochistan.

Amongst other problems, shelterlessness is the most traumatic issue and people are confronted with forced dislocations on
a massive scale. Small wonder that these areas are in the grip of deadly violence, given the presence of a large number of
socially uprooted and psychologically disturbed people.

Urban centres face acute problems spawned by squatter settlements which have emerged in all major towns and cities.
These are the people‘s response to the state‘s failure to address the housing needs of the poor.

As state land was abundant, many katchi abadis sprang up on these loosely guarded territories. Landlords in peri-urban
areas also encouraged the growth of katchi abadis for their own benefit. With the passage of time, options of any affordable
housing for the poor have simply vanished.

Burgeoning land prices, high construction costs, very low savings/capital accumulation among the needy groups and the
absence of housing credit facilities are some of the reasons that make it difficult for a person from the low-income classes
to even aspire for a properly constructed house.

In the case of Karachi, one factor adversely affecting habitat is the in-migration from various backward regions that
continues even today at a very high pace. Much of this incoming population is absorbed within the confines of existing
katchi abadis.

Admittedly, one cannot ignore the squalor and dilapidated conditions that currently prevail in the squatter settlements. But
they at least provide a roof above the head for people who arrive in the city in search of a job. This demands a people-
friendly approach and the upgradation of these abadis.

The housing problem of the low- and middle-income groups has assumed serious proportions. According to recent
statistics, these groups constitute around two-thirds of the total population of the country. Their large numbers
notwithstanding, they face an acute shortage of housing choices.

With very limited financial means, they find it extremely difficult to sustain their white-collar lifestyles. In the absence of
affordable land, lack of credit facilities, the absence of proportional technical and managerial support, gaining access to
housing appears to be an elusive goal.

The prices of housing and land which is available have shot up in recent years. For example, an apartment measuring
1,200 square feet in Gulshan-i-Iqbal in Karachi, which had a price tag of Rs1.5m about a year ago, is now being sold for
Rs2.5m.

Similarly, land supply and development is mostly done in high-income areas where the property market is experiencing a
meteoric rise. Undeveloped land is being rated at Rs12,000 — Rs15,000 per square yard. The unbounded speculations in
land and property markets are acting as a catalyst in this phenomenon. No new scheme for low-income groups has been
launched since 1979 in Karachi.

The poor or low-income groups either walk away from such schemes or consider them a waste of time and resources.
Scores of research studies have established that housing and community development cannot be achieved by creating
extraordinary stimulus in real estate markets. Both of these sub sectors have an entirely different clientele.

Land supply is the primary factor that has an impact on habitat. Land was traditionally considered a social asset. Now it is
treated as a saleable commodity.

Another major change is the growing inability of the government to influence what is now termed as the land market. Since
decisions related to land supply and transactions involve a widely dispersed cadre of stakeholders, the mechanics of land
delivery for housing and other functions are determined in proportion to the relative influence exercised by each category of
stakeholders.

Thus the armed forces, their foundations and countless enterprises; real estate investors from the country and abroad;
international financial institutions; political groups; communal, ethnic and religious lobbies; transporters and civilian
bureaucracy are some prominent categories of stakeholders that directly affect decisions pertaining to land.

It is obvious that neither the poor nor their well-wishers figure in any of these categories. The outcome is clear. The
choices, formats and typologies of housing development are undertaken in an entirely self-fulfilling manner without any
trace of social justice towards the really needy groups.

Evidence of this manifests itself in the scores of real estate schemes announced in different parts of the country under the
garb of providing housing for those who are really needy. A few basic measures need to be adopted without delay. Credit
must be provided to the poor and the needy to enable them to gain access to land for effective and equitable utilisation.
Effective checks must be applied to the snowballing rise in real estate development.

Appropriate changes must be introduced in the zoning and building regulations to promote mixed land use in an effective
manner. The old principle of cross subsidy must be re-introduced where land and housing prices may be augmented by the
levies on real estate enterprises.

It must be remembered that no urban and regional security and prosperity can be achieved in conditions when more than
half the population is denied the right to a decent roof above their heads.
(By Dr. Noman Ahmed, Dawn-6, 01/10/2007)


                                                             63
                                                Land use and land value
I have never quite understood why the recent urban housing development of Lahore has followed the same template:
horizontal expansion based almost exclusively on the farm house model. Town houses do exist, but they are few in quantity
and have not been part of this development template. Also puzzling is that, until now and save for only one handful of
exceptions, Lahore's urban development has ignored residential apartments as a means of residential development.

One reason for the city's voracious appetite for land -- Lahore's urban development template fuels urban sprawl -- is the low
cost of the abundant agricultural land that surrounds the metropolis. Another is the demand of new commercial areas. In
the first case, relocation takes place because it is easier to develop the cheap agricultural land so that it is fit for housing. A
generation ago, the land leading from Thokar Niaz Beg to Raiwind was farmland. Now it (along with the DHA) is the
backbone of Lahore's next-generation residential housing infrastructure. In the second case, relocation takes place
because it is more attractive to commercialise residential areas than to redevelop existing commercial areas. A generation
ago, Gulberg was a leafy residential retreat. Now, it is impossible to find a single road or lane that has not been
commercialised, is used for commercial activity or which does not have a school located on it.

In other parts of the world, where cities do not have natural perimeters, like Manhattan, for example, good urban planners
have tackled urban sprawl by restricting the limits of their cities and thus forcing residential development upwards rather
than outwards. Where this has proved impossible, for one reason or the other, the ill effects of urban sprawl (since sprawl is
automobile dependant, it increases traffic congestion) is managed by techniques such as public transport. In other parts of
the world, commercial areas are controlled and their locations kept static by making redevelopment more attractive than
relocation.

I have, in past articles, written about the ill effects of the type of residential development and commercialisation seen in
Lahore over the past decade. The peri-urban agricultural land surrounding the city has been replaced by private housing
societies and the DHA. This has adverse environmental effects and, by forcing farmers further away from the city centre --
thereby increasing their transport costs -- has even increased the cost of the vegetables we buy and eat. This is not to say I
am against residential development. On the contrary, I am for managing residential development so as to contain urban
sprawl. This can be done by enforcing city limits, promoting low-rise but high-density residential accommodation and by
providing suitable public transport.

Commercialisation of residential areas has interesting economic dynamics. For owners of residential accommodation, the
commercialisation of their areas brings windfall benefits in the shape of rising property prices. What is to be kept in mind is
that this benefit is unearned and is merely the result of a poor urban planning strategy. It is because older commercial
areas were never designed or upgraded to accommodate the needs (and cars) of today's new consumer society that
pressure to find new commercial areas. Take the commercialisation of Gulberg as a working example. Because the Mall,
Davis Road and the older parts of Lahore are unsuitable for new businesses and can't cater for the commercial needs of a
new Lahore, there has been a great demand for new commercial areas. Gulberg and its newly commercialised Main
Boulevard need supply of commercial space. But whereas homeowners located on the Main Boulevard and MM Alam
Road have made millions by commercialising their land and selling it to the highest bidder from among a crowd of eager
developers, no such corresponding windfall has come to those who invested in Gulberg's original commercial areas. The
value of a shop in Main Market has not appreciated anywhere near the value of residential land located on a main road.
This is unfair as residential homeowners receive an unearned windfall while those who have worked in Gulberg's
commercial areas have seen no fruit of their time and efforts.

For urban developers, an announcement that a residential area is being commercialised or news that agricultural peri-
urban land can be put to residential purposes is met with great excitement. In both cases, the new use of the land can
generate more income than the previous use. In both cases, as has been seen in all the urban areas and cities in our
country, news of commercialisation or of the launch of a new housing scheme means the development value of the land
towers over its existing use value.

But why should this premium be enjoyed by the few? Why should only homeowners benefit from commercialisation of a
residential area? Why isn't there a mechanism for regulating the profits made by developers so as to benefit the community
affected by the development? Why should poor farmers on the outskirts of a city not share the profits that come from the
residential development of what was once their land (under the law, all they get is existing market value and a 15 per cent
bonus when their land is acquired by the state for housing schemes)?

This aspect of urban development -- the aspect which explores the relationship between land use and land value -- is
hardly studied in Pakistan. Save for a few notable scholars (Arif Hasan and Raza Ali come to mind, as does a book
published by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics), there is almost no academic analysis of this area. It
doesn't seem to have crossed the minds of the powers that be and, even if our development authorities and local
government institutions are aware of these lacunas, nothing has been done to address the issue.

There are many notable examples from around the world where urban planning has sought to establish a rational pattern of
land use -- one which will enable the community to achieve its basic values. It's about time we learnt from them.

In the United States, for example, there was, after the World War Two and the rapid urbanisation that took place thereafter,
a trend to rationalise property tax in order to incentivise redevelopment over relocation in commercial areas. This was done
in several states by means of a gradual phase-out of property tax based on the value of buildings or structures on the land
and towards a property tax based solely on the land. In this way, owners of worn-out and dilapidated buildings found that it
made sense to redevelop existing land and make more profit than to continue paying tax on land that was generating little
income. On a larger scale, such a taxation policy has the effect of keeping commercial areas static as it is less expensive to
redevelop on existing land than to relocate to newly-converted residential areas. It is high time the provincial urban
immovable property tax legislation was examined and reviewed in this new light. (And if Dr Nadeemul Haq is reading this:
yes, I'm also all for removing the statutory provision exempting federal and provincial lands from payment of urban property
tax.)

In Britain, after the World War Two, urban development planners were left with a bare canvas, so to speak. The Luftwaffe
and the Blitz that levelled vast tracts of Britain's many cities was a watershed event that allowed urban planners the
opportunity to start afresh and to test modern development methods. The Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, is an

                                                               64
example of that effort. The purpose of this legislation was to equalise shifting land prices without destroying the incentive to
private land development. The effectiveness of the legislation is debatable, but at least it was given a chance. In Pakistan,
by way of contrast, we are willing to amend the Constitution but are loath to pass urban planning bye-laws. (Fact: since the
last local government election, the City District Council of Lahore has met no more than a half-a-dozen times. No bye-laws
have ever been passed by it.) When will our urban planners wake up to the importance of these issues and do something?
Time is of the essence. In another 10 years, every second Pakistani will live in an urban area.
(By Ahmad Rafay Alam, The News-6, 01/10/2007)



               1,000 sacks of pre-Partition history discovered in KMC building domes
KARACHI: The City District Government Karachi‘s (CDGK) newly-established
Karachi Municipal Archives and Research Department, which was formulated in
June after the City Council approved a resolution (No. 229), has started sorting
out more than 1,000 plastic sacks that are said to contain old maps and
blueprints of prominent buildings, official documents of the city‘s different
regimes from 1870 to 2000, roadmaps, plans of localities during the British Raj,
books, magazines, letters and notifications etc.

―Shortly after Naib Nazim Nasrin Jalil held office, she visited the old Karachi
Municipal Corporation (KMC) Building and noticed these sacks of records
dumped in different area of the building,‖ Archive and Research Director Adnan
Qureshi told Daily Times. He said that they had started working through 200
sacks that were brought down from the rooftop of the building and these
documents were being classified as per their importance. ―There are still over
800 such sacks stored in small rooms situated on the roof. These rooms,
measuring about 12x16 feet and 12x18 feet, were probably used as store
rooms by officials during the last 100 years as some of sacks were found in
extreme neglect and a highly dilapidated condition.‖ Qureshi said that they had
sought assistance from Yasmin Lari and other philanthropists to conserve the
records and so far, they had preserved some maps that had been displayed in
the hall for visitors.

The department currently has only six officials but a summary, requesting 22
more, has been approved and staff will be deputed as soon as possible. ―We
need lower staff for transporting huge sacks from the rooftop of the four-story
building and clean the dust that has accumulated over these documents.
Currently, we are spraying insecticide only in small phases and full scale
fumigation will only be carried out when all the sacks have been opened.‖

Qureshi said that the right wing of the building‘s ground floor (now the City Council Secretariat) would be developed as a
state-of-the-art archive and research center. The officials plan to develop the area into a new exhibit hall where images of
historical documents would be displayed and seminars would be conducted for the public, especially students. A library and
an audio/video room would also be set up to highlight the pre-partition era. ―We appeal to the people to give us any items
they have such as coins, pamphlets, jewellery, books, dresses etc that represent the culture of the pre-partition era and is
worthy of being displayed here,‖ he said.
(By Jamil Khan, DailyTimes-B1, 01/10/2007)



                                       ‘This is my own, my native land…?’

                                                      By Aquila Ismail
I WAS having coffee with my friend Samar Al-Husseini in a café when we heard the recent Supreme Court verdict on the
right of every citizen to return to Pakistan and live there. Samar wistfully asked if there was some court in the world that
would grant her and her family the right to go back to Jerusalem which she left with her family in 1960, just like many of her
relatives and friends had done.

She cannot return even though her family still legally owns their house and her mother keeps the keys to it as a prized
possession. Samar was born in that house and 20 generations of her family had lived in it. That accounts for at least 400
years.

We wondered how many generations does one have to live on a land for one to be given the rights of a citizen — one
lifetime, two, or a 100 or just a few years or can you just move in and be called a person with inalienable rights to live in that
land? Or can this be decided through the political expediency of those in power? Or through international institutions? Or
the courts? Can people be driven out of their home because they do not fit into the pattern on which a state is built —
religion for Israel, as well as for Pakistan, language for Bangladesh and so on?

Our painful conclusion was that nations and boundaries are tenuous at best and the land belongs to the people who at the
point in time that political boundaries are drawn have the clout, or the support of global powers, or, as in the case of
Samar‘s home, the state is able to acquire state of the art weapons by political manipulation and then use them with
impunity. And also justify it!

Samar left Jerusalem at the age of six, but she says, ―When I dream of myself with someone it is in Jerusalem, not Kuwait,
not Jordan and not even the UAE where I have lived for 16 years…I want to walk through the front door of my beautiful
home in that cherished neighbourhood with the blue skies and the almond trees.‖

Her parents reinforce her memory. Samar‘s right to return to her place of birth is enshrined in international law but who

                                                               65
gives a damn? Whereas a ‗law of return‘ gives the chosen people the right to ‗return‘ to Samar‘s home from wherever they
may have been born on the globe as this was their land in biblical times. That it was the land of Samar‘s people as well is
conveniently ignored. If one talks of her right as opposed to the rights of those who live in Europe or America one is sure to
be labelled as anti-Semitic although Samar‘s people are also Semites.

Under the law of return, most people of Jewish heritage can immigrate to Israel no matter where they may have been born,
even if they have citizenship of that country and have lived there for years. They can receive Israeli citizenship and all the
privileges and obligations that ensue.

The state of Israel came into being in its present location because the Jews believe that it is the biblical Land of Israel. This
links people of Jewish heritage to Palestine. The Jewish ‗right of return‘ was embodied in the Declaration of the
Establishment of the State of Israel of May 14, 1948: ―The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the
ingathering of the exiles...‖

However, a Palestinian born in Palestine cannot return to his or her homeland even though he or she was ousted by
design, force and the use of laws that border on apartheid. Village after village, town after town, became part of refugee
camps in Gaza, West Bank, Lebanon etc. The subsequent wars swelled these numbers. So even if a Palestinian state is
set up in the lands currently under the nominal control of the Palestinian Authority the people in the camps still have the
right and the desire to return to the villages they left behind in 1948.

The term ‗right of return‘, when applied to Palestinians with respect to the State of Israel differs significantly with the
accepted universal definition of the term. It reflects a belief that Palestinian refugees and their descendants have a right to
return to the homes their families had possessed and left prior to or during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

One reason that is given to prevent Samar from returning is that this will alter the nature of the Jewish state. Although in a
democratic country you cannot differentiate between people on the basis of race, religion, etc, it is feared that if all the
people who were expelled from the areas which now constitute Israel and are now refugees were allowed to go back, the
demographics of the Israeli state would change.

If this is not apartheid what is? Can a state be created on land belonging to others and then declare that in fact the owners
of the land have become the ‗other‘? This is hardly an acceptable situation in international law. So here we ask if laws can
really safeguard the rights of people of the world. And indeed, can the law be implemented even if upheld by national and
international courts?

When individual assertions reach a critical mass then truth and justice prevail. So dear Samar, dream on and hold on to the
keys to your house, but do not keep silent. Tell everyone you can about your desire and right, and question anyone who
says it is futile to do so.
(By Aquila Ismail, Dawn-7, 02/10/2007)


                                                     A victim of MDA
In the late 90s, the Malir Development Authority had announced a housing scheme comprising flats, shops, bungalows, etc.
In 1997 applicants were required to make monthly instalments starting January 1998.
I was allotted a flat, No. E-101, on 33 monthly instalments at the rate of Rs950 a month. The schedule of the total payment
was as follows: total cash component being Rs151,000; expected loan being Rs144,000 and total cost of the flat beibg
Rs295,000.

Up till now I have paid instalments as per the given schedule. The MDA has, so far, issued payment challans for the ground
floor only, and has suspended further issuance of challans. Moreover, it has asked the applicants to start making payment
towards the loans they expect to get through the MDA.
In my case I have paid this too, to the extent of Rs79,900. The total payment I have made comes to Rs154,750. Thus I am
not a defaulter. The irony is that the project which was scheduled to have been completed in 2000 has not yet been
completed.

On a visit of the site I have found that development work has stopped at the ground floor level whereas my flat will be
located on the first floor.

A structuring done only up to the first floor and left exposed to the vagaries of weather will no more be of the original
strength. Who will compensate for this?
It may be added here that the investors are mostly lower middle class people who have put their life savings in the project
so as to provide a shelter for their children. I would request the government to come to the rescue of the small investors.
SYED ZAFAR ABBAS NAQVI, Karachi
(Dawn-6, Letter to the Editor, 05/10/2007)


                                     Farm housing scheme declared illegal
ISLAMABAD, Oct 4: The city managers have warned the public not to invest in a farm housing scheme launched in Sector
C-17 and D- 17 in Zone-II, sources told Dawn on Thursday.
The sources said the city managers have declared the scheme floated by Islamabad Agro-Farming Cooperative Society
(IAFCS) as illegal and unauthorised despite the fact that people had invested millions of rupees in it.
They said the society had even not submitted its layout plan to the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

A notice issued by the CDA to the society said: ―General public is therefore warned to refrain from any sale/purchase in the
agro-farming scheme.‖

The management of the society has also been directed to stop sale, purchase and development of the scheme failing
which the CDA will take action.

                                                              66
When contacted, CDA director housing schemes Sarwar Sindhu said besides serving notice on the society the authority
had also written a letter to the district administration‘s registrar cooperatives suggesting him to take stern action against the
management of the housing scheme.

As it is a cooperative society and registered with the Islamabad cooperative department, the first responsibility to stop its
illegal activity lies with the local administration, he maintained.

However, despite receiving the letter from the CDA, the registrar cooperatives has not taken any action against the society.
Sources said the management of the agro-farming scheme had already laid sewage lines and started construction of roads.

The CDA director said any sort of construction by any scheme was illegal until approved by the CDA.
It is a normal practice to submit the layout plan of a scheme to the CDA and start development work on the project only
after having approval and a no-objection certificate from the authority, he added. He said launching of farm-housing
schemes had never been allowed in Zone-II and the CDA had no plan to allow it in the near future.On the other hand, over
100 agro-farms have been sold in the scheme, majority of them purchased by overseas Pakistanis.

Farm-housing schemes were only allowed in Zone-IV and according to the CDA rules, the minimum area for a farm house
is eight kanals. However, IAFCS has five and ten kanal farm houses.
(By Syed Irfan Raza, Dawn-2, 05/10/2007)


                              Heritage re-survey work moving at a snail’s pace
KARACHI, Oct 4: Hardly 40 per cent of the work on the Karachi Heritage Resurvey Project has been completed though it
has already spent more time than was prescribed for the whole work, it is reliably learnt.

Sources said a major reason for the slow pace of work was delayed payments by the government. Another reason was that
since such an extensive study in the field had not been done before, the information gathering, recording, etc was taking
longer than projected. The sources said that the project that was to be completed in six months had already taken over 18
months and might take six months to a year more before its final report was prepared.

The Rs1.8 million project is being conducted by professionals associated with the NED university and is being sponsored
by the Sindh Culture Department.

Responding to Dawn‘s queries, NED team coordinator Anila Naeem said more than 300 of the over 700 buildings, which
have been protected under the Sindh Cultural Heritage Protection Act, have been resurveyed by the team comprising three
architects.

She said the old city areas were distributed in 27 quarters and survey work in 10 quarters – Old Town, Sadar Bazaar,
Serai, Rambagh, Railway, Bunder, Market, Ranchore Lines, Preedy, and Artillery Maidan – had been completed, it was in
progress in the Civil Lines Quarters and Frere Town and the Cantonment area, after which work on the remaining 15
quarters — Napier, Bhisti Wara, Soldier Bazar, Quarries, Garden, Jail, Layaree, Manora, Baba Bhit Shamspir, Kiamari,
Ghizree, Old Clifton, Machi Mianee, Ramswami, Gari Khata – would be taken up.
She said work on the project, guided by NED‘s Dr Nauman Ahmad and senior architect Arif Hassan, began in January/
February 2006 and the first instalment of funds was provided by the government in December 2006 while the second
instalment was made available a few days back, but in the meantime the NED university had been providing funds so that
the work continued.

She said the work done by a non-governmental organisation, the Heritage Foundation, had been taken as a baseline and
now a detailed survey was being conducted to update it to see what was the present status of these protected buildings.
She said detailed criteria —such as historical value, architectural value, relation to some important personality, historical
event, etc — was also being developed, which would highlight the importance of the particular building.
She said generally people were very helpful to the survey team, providing information and other assistance, but once the
team was looted at gunpoint while surveying a protected building off I. I. Chundrigar Road on a Sunday morning. It lost an
expensive digital camera, cellphones and cash of its team members. It, however, looked like a common case of street
crime that had plagued the city in the recent years.

Ms Naeem said that the data on the protected buildings collected through the survey and the old maps acquired from the
Karachi Building Control Authority and other government and non-governmental sources, satellite imageries etc was being
digitalised and detailed maps, documents having various valuable information would be prepared under the project.

Answering questions, senior architect Arif Hassan, a member of the Advisory Committee on Cultural Heritage, said the
project had been delayed for two reasons: one being the delayed payments and the other extensive information gathering.
But once it was completed, hopefully in a few months, its report would be helpful in preparing future actions and policies
regarding heritage conservation.
The resurvey project was prepared by the Sindh Culture Department on the directives of the advisory committee to get an
update regarding the status of the over 700 buildings that had been declared protected under the Sindh Cultural Heritage
Act in the mid-1990s based on the information provided by the Heritage Foundation, which it had gathered earlier.
(By Bhagwandas, Dawn-18, 05/10/2007)


                                  City govt opposes playground conversion
KARACHI, Oct 4: The city district government strongly opposed the conversion of the Webb Ground in the Sindh High
Court on Thursday.

CDG counsel Manzoor Ahmed submitted before a division bench comprising Justices Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Ali Sain
Dino Metlo that the ground has long been used as a playing field by the residents of the Lines Area. It was the only open
space in a highly congested lower middle class neighbourhood. He referred to successive superior court judgments
declaring that an amenity plot could in no case be put to commercial use.
                                                              67
The counsel said the land comprising the ground was not owned by the ministry of defence or the military estate office and
the Army Welfare Trust had no right to lease it out to a commercial concern (Makro-Habib) for the construction of a cash-
and-carry departmental store, which would intensify traffic and environmental problems in the area. The land was
transferred to the Karachi Municipal Corporation and subsequently to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, the CDG
predecessors, in the 1970s. The city government has documentary evidence of the payment of price and the transfer of the
land but the respondent concern was raising construction post-haste to create an irreversible position.

The city government stance endorses the position taken by the petitioners, non-governmental organisation Shehri and
former councilor Mehfoozun Nabi Khan. The petitioners have also moved a contempt application for proceeding apace with
construction in violation of the court‘s restraint order.

The bench asked the respondents to strictly observe its interim order against raising further construction and creating any
third party interest whatsoever. It wondered why the respondent concern was in a hurry to raise a structure in the absence
of public utilities like electricity, sewerage and gas. The bench asked the ministry of defence to submit its comments
through the deputy attorney-general. The ministry was joined as a respondent subsequently when the respondent concern
claimed that the land originally belonged to the military estate office.

Adjourning the hearing to October 9, the bench again asked the respondents to maintain the status quo.

Faryal’s plea
PPP covering candidate Faryal Talpur‘s petition against the acceptance of President Pervez Musharraf‘s nomination
papers was again adjourned to Friday at the request of her counsel.

Advocate Farooq H. Naek submitted on behalf of the petitioner, who is district nazim of Nawabshah and the sister of PPP
leader Asif Ali Zardari, that the Supreme Court was seized of identical matters. The 10-member SC bench may dismiss the
petitions under Article 184 (3) and may ask the petitioners to invoke the writ jurisdiction of the high court against the chief
election commissioner‘s order. The request was granted by a division bench consisting of Justices Sarmad Jalal Osmany
and Ali Sain Dino Metlo and the petition was re-fixed for hearing on Friday.

Benazir’s security
A non-governmental organisation named ‗Human Safety Foundation‘ has, meanwhile, moved a petition to seek a direction
to the administration to provide ‗fool proof‘ security to PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto on her arrival on Oct 18. Advocate
Shafqat Shah Masoomi , who had sought and got an identical direction on the eve of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed
Chaudhry‘s arrival on behalf of ‗Pakistan International Human Rights Organisation‘, requested the court in the new petition
to order full protection for Ms Bhutto and her procession from the airport to Bilawal House via Quaid‘s mazar.

Meanwhile, Ms Bhutto‘s petition seeking protective bail on her arrival is fixed for hearing before a division bench comprising
Chief Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed and Justice Faisal Arab on Friday. The petitioner apprehends that she may be arrested in
accountability cases pending against her.
(Dawn-17, 05/10/2007)



                                   Revisiting the Quaid's final resting place
Karachi brings images of a city lit up by a million lights, beckoning everyone
towards it with promises of advancement, a better, and to some, a more
exciting life. The city holds a special place in Pakistani hearts as it is the
birthplace, as well as the burial place of the Quaid.

Spread over 61 acres of land, in the middle of a city full of people and sound,
the mausoleum of the founder of Pakistan is an iconic symbol of the country.
The tomb as we see it today was not designed on the very first day. Ayub Khan, the first Pakistani military general to seize
power through a coup, laid the foundation of the mausoleum in 1960, but this beautiful piece of architecture was completed
in 1969, during Yahya Khan's regime.

The mausoleum is made of white marble with curved Moorish arches and copper grills resting on an elevated 54 square
meters platform. The cool inner sanctum reflects the green of a four-tiered crystal chandelier gifted by the people of China.
The park around the mausoleum is fitted with strong beamed spot-lights which at night project light on the white
mausoleum and doubled the beauty of it. The location of the tomb is calm and tranquil which is significant considering that
it is in the heart of one of the largest global megalopolises. The glowing tomb can be seen from miles away at night.

The mausoleum is not just a burial chamber, and apart from having become a cultural icon identifying Karachi, it has
historical value as well; the mausoleum premises house a museum displaying the Quaid's belongings.

Quaid-e-Azam's mausoleum has also become a place to hang out for Karachiites. Deputy Project Director, Riaz Ahmed
says, "More than 25,000 people visit the place daily in order to greet the Quaid, enjoy the fresh air and entertain
themselves in the huge garden which surrounds the burial chamber."

Every evening the lush green lawns surrounding the pristinely smooth marble
tomb are crowded with people; children make use of the wide open space to
run about, while parents and families finally find a spot out in the open to
breathe in some fresh air and lay back, or stretch their legs. The reason why
the mazaar is such a popular spot to hang out for families is the fact that it is
possibly one of the cheapest forms of entertainment available to Karachiites.
Aijaz Ahsan, who was accompanied by the many children in his family, feels
that the price is just right for low income groups with huge families, "the entry
fee is just five rupees," he says, "which is very economical."



                                                             68
Aijaz Ahsan also pointed out that with such few parks in the city for children to play in; Bagh-e-Quaid provides not only a
healthy, but safe environment for children to play in, as the area is protected by a boundary wall.

Quaid-e-Azam's mausoleum has always been touted as being in the 'heart of Karachi', and this is one of its greatest pulls
for visitors. With travel time to every other recreational spot in the city doubling thanks to the heavy traffic, the roads to the
mausoleum, though not light on traffic, are still close enough to every area in Karachi to be easily approachable.

Reasons for picking the Quaid's mazaar to visit run deeper than just 'to have fun.' As the country gains years, memories of
the cause that led to the fight for a separate country dim, and younger generations especially feel removed from the
struggle for independence. In a bid to put a personality to the stories, parents visit the mausoleum with their children to
show them the Quaid's tomb. Mrs Sadia Razzaq, who is visiting from Lahore, says, "I've brought my children here to show
them the tomb, before the visit, they had only read about the mausoleum in books or seen it on the television," the visit has
proved fruitful, as, "it has coloured the picture in their minds."

The Quaid's belongings are showcased as memorials beside the tomb which are an addition in the visitors' attraction.
These memorials were presented by the Quaid's sister, Shireen Bibi to the Commission of Enquiry for display purposes.
The objects have been on display since 1984 after being tested for bacterial infections.

The museum greatly interests every one either above 60 years of age or below 10. The Quaid's cars, clothes, books,
awards etc, seem to tell the story of his glorious life in different ways, including the stories of independence and the
establishment of Pakistan.

Quaid-e-Azam's official and private cars, a 1947 Cadillac, and 1938 Packard transport people half a century back. It is
through proper maintenance and devoted care that the cars look as if they have just been driven out of a showroom. The
deputy director says that the place is cleaned on regular basis with proper care and concern.

Furniture used by Quaid-e-Azam is presented in a way that it looks as if it is
still in use. A visitor, Shahid Jan, upon seeing the dining table set with beautiful
blue china and silverware, as though for a formal dinner, comments, "It feels
as though the food is ready and about to be served to the Quaid and his
guests." A lion skin rug is placed between the dining and drawing room
settings, which appeals greatly to children.

Fahad Khan, an aged visitor from Larkana, was deeply touched, as he viewed
the display, "the furniture and other objects have been arranged to perfection
and portray the discipline of the owners' life and personality." He observed that
the atmosphere of the study has been designed such that it evokes a desire in
visitors to just grab a book, sit down, and start reading!

The management is making more efforts to provide new facilities to visitors. An audio visual room is under construction and
expected to be completed within two months. The audio visual room is the brain child of the Resident Engineer,
Mohammad Arif. The project is costing about 17.5 million rupees and the room has the capacity to hold 150 people. The
size of the screen in the audio visual room will be 10 feet by 30 feet.

Documentaries revolving around the Quaid's life, construction of the mausoleum, etc will be available for viewing by school
children every day. Mohammad Arif says that schools will be invited to register themselves for the audio visual programs
after its completion, through advertisements. It has also been planned that environmental lectures will be delivered to the
students and they will later be asked to educate visitors about what they have learnt either verbally or through actions.

Apart from the emotional value the mausoleum holds for visitors, the green, shady lawns surrounding the tomb are a spot
picked by many couples out on a date. However, these couples are mindful of where they are and behave modestly. Dating
on the premises is discouraged by the management though and guards can often be seen issuing warnings to the young
and in love.

Meticulous maintenance is visible across all 61 acres of mausoleum premises, further drawing visitors. One can not find
even the thinnest layer of dust on any of the objects on display in the museum. "Maximum efforts are made to maintain the
place in order to avoid giving visitors a single chance to criticize the place," says Riaz Ahmed.
"Routine cleaning is carried out daily, but thorough maintenance measures are
taken every six months," adds Riaz Ahmed, "the furniture is polished, clothes
cleaned and the show cases sprayed in order to achieve the most pleasing
look."

In a reversal of roles, the management of the mausoleum has several
complaints against the public. Riaz Ahmed says, "Despite strict checking,
visitors spit paan and guthka all over the place, chewing gum and paan are
very difficult to clean but visitors are not concerned about this."

Riaz adds that the fountain gets so polluted within two days of cleaning that
the base cannot be seen.

However, the development of the mausoleum doesn't just end here. "A number of other projects are in the pipeline which
include a freedom movement museum, a central library and an auditorium," Resident Engineer Mohammad Arif tells
Kolachi.

Quaide-e-Azam's mausoleum is a permanent landmark and monument in Karachi, but as is often quoted, there is nothing
permanent but change. The well maintained and currently progressing mausoleum is a spark of hope for educating the
masses about important historic and civic facts, and it seems that it will keep evolving, and along with it, will encourage the
people who visit to constantly evolve as well.
(By Tabassum Ali, The News-41, 07/10/2007)


                                                               69
                        Construction work continues in SBP’s protected building
KARACHI, Oct 7: Construction work is being carried out on the old State Bank of India premises without getting the
mandatory permission though the building is protected under the Sindh Cultural Heritage Act, it is learnt here reliably.
Located next to the State Bank of Pakistan on I. I. Chundrigar Road, the protected building had become a part of the SBP
office complex, sources said.

They said nobody, not even the owner, could carry out any kind of construction, repairs, restoration, alteration or addition in
a building protected under the Heritage Act, which prescribed long prison terms and heavy fines for the violators.

Construction or alteration activity in the protected site could be started only after getting no-objection certificates from the
Karachi Building Control Authority and the advisory committee on cultural affairs, headed by the provincial chief secretary,
is mandatory. However, no such permission had been obtained by the State Bank of Pakistan in this case, the sources
added.
They said some partition walls had been demolished and doors were being constructed inside the colonial-style red
sandstone building besides other minor changes so that it could house the proposed museum.

Sources said the Indian bank operated in this building for sometime after the partition in 1947, but as the relations strained
between the two countries the bank pulled its shutters down. The building remained closed for a long time after which the
government gave it to the State Bank of Pakistan for use.

The SBP opened its various sections in the stone building and operated its foreign exchange control department for
sometime. The bank later shifted its library here. However, the bank planned to set up a museum in this building for which
some alterations were being made inside the building, being constructed with Chhatar, the famous red sandstone from
Jodhpur, Rajasthan in India.

Responding to Dawn queries, Dr Asma Ibrahim, the newly-appointed curator of the proposed monetary museum, said such
facilities were functioning in almost every country. She said minor changes like removal of some partition walls, which were
added to the original building, were being carried out and probably a few new doors were being made.
She said the work that was being carried out at a cost of over Rs60 million for the last four years was of a minor nature.
She said no work was planned for the outer facet of the building.

The newly-posted Sindh Culture Secretary, Shams Jafrani, could not be contacted to get his response despite repeated
attempts.

The Advisory Committee on Cultural Affairs member, Arif Hassan, said the question of permission did not arise when the
State Bank of Pakistan had not submitted its plans regarding the establishment of the museum in the protected building.
―No NOC or permission has been given to the State Bank,‖ he said, adding that an NOC must be obtained before carrying
out any work in the protected building.

KBCA Area Controller of Buildings Agha Maqsood Abbas did not answer the calls made by this scribe to ascertain if the
KBCA had approved the SBP‘s plans or the authority had planned any action against the SBP for violating its by-laws.
However, KBCA sources said, the bank had not even submitted its plans to the authority.

Sources said the SBP‘s case was not the only in which the mandatory permissions had not been sought. Despite being
aware of the illegal status of their work, many government organisations and influential people did not even apply for
permissions before carrying out such illegal constructions. They cited the construction of two buildings in the headquarters
of Pakistan Rangers, located in Jinnah Courts, and an auditorium being built in Hindu Gymkhana.
(By Bhagwandas, Dawn-15, 08/10/2007)


                                   Row among SITE, Orangi towns over plot
A row is currently being fought over a fire station plot between SITE and Orangi towns. The amenity plot is located adjacent
to UC-6 on the main Orangi road. The plot, earmarked for fire brigade station, is owned by SITE Town, but the Orangi
Town administration reportedly plans to occupy it and develop a residential project.

Although the Nazim of Orangi Town denies having planned any residential project at the amenity plot, the SITE Town
authorities stand by their allegations. According to them, the Orangi Town land department staff has undertaken the
mapping for the land.

Talking to newsmen Town Nazim Orangi, Abdul Haq, denied any such allegations and said, ―I have no knowledge of
mapping or plotting at the above land, which belonged to SITE Town,‖ and added that mapping of the plot to develop
residential scheme was ―just a rumour.‖

District Officer Land Orangi Town, Malik Shaukat, declined to comment on the matter and did not confirm or reject the claim
of Orangi Town over the plot.

Meanwhile, Naib Nazim SITE Town, Badshah Khan, said that his town would never allow Orangi Town to proceed with the
plotting over an amenity plot that was in the jurisdiction of SITE Town.

―That is the only available open space in the area, which we would develop as modern park rather than allowing the ‗land
mafia‘ to encroach upon it,‖ Badshah Khan said.

Area survey revealed that there was severe shortage of open spaces in adjacent localities of union council 5, 6 and 7
where the youth could be provided with recreation and sporting venues.
(The News-20, 08/10/2007)




                                                              70
                                    Hearing in playground case adjourned
KARACHI, Oct 9: The Sindh High Court adjourned the hearing of the Webb Ground case to Oct 31 to enable the deputy
attorney-general to submit comments on behalf of the defence ministry.
The ministry had been made a respondent in view of the contention raised by M/s Makro-Habib, which is constructing a
cash-and-carry store on the Lines Area ground.

The respondent firm said the land initially belonged to the military estate office, which transferred it to the Army Welfare
Trust.

The trust leased it out to the firm for construction of a department store. Petitioners Mehfoozun Nabi Khan and Shehri
argue that the ground had long been used as a playing field and could not now be converted into commercial premises.

Deputy Attorney-General Rizwan A. Siddiqui told a division bench hearing the petition that he had not been able to obtain
full information from the military estate office and needed more time to seek comments from the defence ministry to
ascertain the ownership of the ground.

In reply to a query by the bench, which consists of Justices Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Ali Sain Dino Metlo, the DAG
conceded that an amenity plot could not be put to commercial use.
But, he hastened to add, the status and ownership of the plot was yet to be determined. The city district government had
also claimed its ownership.

Promotion plea
The Sindh High Court issued notices to the central selection board and the establishment secretary for Oct 30 in a petition
moved by an acting income tax commissioner for his promotion.

Petitioner Sajjad Ahmad‘s counsel, Mansoorul Haq Solangi, submitted before a division bench comprising Justices
Maqbool Baqar and Mrs Yasmin Abbasy that he had already been allowed move-over.

The petitioner had also been given the officiating charge of commissioner but was not being promoted.
He was holding a grade 20 post without being promoted to that grade. The matter warranted consideration by the high
court in exercise of its writ jurisdiction. He was proceeded against once under the National Accountability Bureau
Ordinance for allegedly possessing assets beyond his known sources of income but was acquitted by an accountability
court.
(Dawn-19, 10/10/2007)


                              DJ, NED old campus buildings to be preserved
Sindh Chief Secretary Ejaz Ahmed Qureshi has stressed the need for preserving cultural heritage and promoting culture
and arts. Talking to newsmen during a visit to the historical buildings of D.J. Science College and N.E.D. University Old
Campus on Tuesday, he said all relevant departments and organisations should discharge their duties in a coordinated
manner to preserve these buildings under the cultural heritage plan.

Qureshi said the buildings of former NED College (now university) and DJ College established in 1922 and 1945,
respectively, were parts of the city‘s cultural heritage. He directed the officials of General Administration & Coordination,
and Education departments to take measures for preservation of both the buildings. He called for boosting departmental
liaison with regard to refurbishment of these buildings.

He said sewerage system should be improved in both billings. It must be ensured that the old outer facade of the buildings
should be kept intact during the repairs, he added. Earlier, the Chief Secretary (CS)held a meeting to discuss the disputed
matters regarding the preservation of the DJ College building under the cultural heritage plan.

The Principal, DJ College, informed the CS that the college was built in 1887. It was resolved that a special fund-raising
campaign would be launched for the purpose and cooperation of philanthropists be sought.

Renowned architect Arif Hassan Khan, Secretary Works and Services, Syed Faisal Saood, Secretary, Culture, Shamas
Jaffrani, KBCA Chief Rauf Akhtar Farooqui, Asadullah Dharejo, Project Director Special Projects Dr. Kalimullah Lashari,
and others were also present.
(The News-14, 10/10/2007)


                                 DJ Science, NED to be protected buildings
KARACHI: Sindh Chief Secretary Ejaz Ahmed Qureshi has directed education departments and officials of general
administration and coordination to preserve the buildings of DJ Science College and NED University‘s old campus under
the cultural heritage plan.

Speaking during his visit to the buildings on Tuesday, he said these buildings were part of the city‘s cultural heritage and
the outer façade of the buildings must remain intact during renovation. He said the buildings‘ sewerage systems must be
improved.

Earlier, Qureshi held a meeting to discuss the disputed matters regarding preservation of DJ College‘s building. The
participants decided that a special fundraising campaign would be launched for this purpose and cooperation of
philanthropists will be sought. Renowned architect Arif Hassan Khan, Works and Services Secretary Syed Faisal Saood,
Culture Secretary Shamas Jaffrani, Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) Chief Rauf Akhtar Farooqui, Asadullah
Dharejo, Project Director Special Projects Dr Kalimullah Lashari and others were also present.
(DailyTimes-B1, 10/10/2007)


                                                            71
                        Army leases land with scant regard for city’s master plan
KARACHI, Oct 10: Without taking into consideration issues of the
city‘s future requirements and the city government‘s plans in this
regard, the ministry of defence has leased out land located along a
main traffic artery which will drastically increase the area‘s
population density in addition to putting further pressure on the
already overstretched civic infrastructure.

Reliable sources report that the approximately 17-acre (80,000 sq
yards) chunk of army-owned land is sandwiched between M.A.
Jinnah Road, Capri Cinema, Rizvi Shaheed Road, Parsi Colony and
Islamia Club. It currently comprises bungalows on large plots but the
Military Estate Office has allowed the construction of high-rise
commercial and residential complex.


Pressure on civic infrastructure
However, many of these plots come under the city government‘s
scheme for future road-widening and the change in land-use allowed
by the Military Estate Office is likely to cause complications in this
regard. Sources pointed out that any high-rise buildings constructed
on this land would have to be demolished – after an expensive and time-consuming legal battle – once the city government
puts the road-widening plan into action.

This land is located along roads that already suffer regular traffics jams. An increase in the area‘s population density would
put further pressure on the roads since thousands of vehicles would be added. The situation would worsen significantly
during the processions and demonstrations that are organised regularly on M.A.Jinnah Road, Numaish Chowrangi or the
nearby Nishtar Park.

Furthermore, the high-rise buildings will increase the area‘s population density by between 50 and a hundred times, which
will put additional pressure on the overburdened civic infrastructure such as roads, water supply, drainage and the
provision of electricity. Hardly about a thousand people occupy the bungalows currently standing on this land but high-rise
buildings would dramatically increase the number of housing units. Subsequently, the area‘s electricity and water needs
would increase exponentially, as would sewage and garbage generation.

‘No right to seek profit’
Land such as this is given by the government to agencies such as the military, the port trust or the railways etc for specific
uses related to the work of the relevant organisation. Issues arise when the organisation – the army, in this case – no
longer requires the land. Sources maintained that when this happens, the land should be returned to the original owner, ie
the government. However, they pointed out, agencies prefer to sell the land at profit, which they have no right to do since
they were allowed the use of land such as the chunk on M.A. Jinnah Road at heavily subsidised rates and sometimes
altogether free of cost.

An official of the city government‘s master plan department told Dawn that the military authorities had not consulted the
department in this regard. He pointed out that M.A. Jinnah Road is one of the city‘s busiest arteries and the city government
plans to introduce systems of mass transit along it, which would require the acquisition of additional land. However, he
pointed out, the army is taking steps to increase the population density which would complicate matters. He added that the
existing networks of water, power and drainage will become severely insufficient once the high-rise buildings are
constructed.

The official maintained that at a number of meetings attended by land-holding agencies, including the military authorities, it
had been agreed that while land-ownership would remain with the original agency, the land-use would be brought into
conformity with the city‘s master plan. However, he said, the military authorities had never consulted the city government in
this regard.

Precedents favour city government
Roland deSouza of Shehri, an NGO working towards the proper use of land and lawful construction, confirmed that some of
the plots on the land in question are included in the road-widening cut-line for the notified North-South Road. Referring to
the possibility of future complications, he cited the case of a high-rise building at the corner of Aga Khan III Road and M.A.
Jinnah Road, opposite the Bambino Cinema. This infringed upon the road-widening scheme and when citizens raised the
alarm, the building had to be redesigned, said Mr deSouza.

Similarly, he said, in terms of another high-rise building which affected the same road-widening scheme, the builder had
already constructed a couple of floors when, as a result of citizens‘ action, the builder was directed to make sure that
further construction did not encroach upon the road-widening area. The matter of the floors already constructed is currently
being adjudicated upon in court, said Mr deSouza.

Citing a third example, he said that after a long trial, the court ordered the demolition of a portion of a high-rise building next
to Clifton Bridge that was encroaching upon the road-widening area. According the Mr deSouza, Shehri had in vain lodged
repeated protests with the director-general Military Lands and Cantonments, Rawalpindi, the director of Land Disposal Cell
in the Quartermaster General Branch in Rawalpindi, the governor of Sindh, the provincial chief minister and the city
government.

Despite Dawn‘s efforts, the Karachi director of Military Lands and Cantonments, Banat Khan Masud, and Military Estate
Officer Hamid Haroon could not be contacted.
(By Bhagwandas, Dawn-15, 11/10/2007)




                                                               72
                                             CDGK to revise land rates
KARACHI: City Naib Nazim Nasreen Jalil held a meeting at her office on Wednesday to discuss suggestions and
recommendations for the settlement of new land charges in the city.

Land charges were supposed to be revised in 2003-04 as according to the Land Sale Rules 1975, land prices must be
revised every five years and the process was last carried out in 1998-99, Jalil said. ―The process was dropped due to the
dissolution of the Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) and Karachi Development Authority (KDA). The City Council is now
responsible for revising these rates,‖ she said.

Jalil directed the relevant officials to present their recommendations to City Nazim Mustafa Kamal. She said the provision of
one-window operation facility was among the city government‘s top priorities and directed officials to solve people‘s
problems related to lease, allotment, transfer and other property issues.
The city government‘s land committee chairman, S Moeen, City Council members Asif Siddiqui, Sher Afgan and other
officials also attended the meeting.
(DailyTimes-B1, 11/10/2007)


                                 SBP told to stop work in protected building
KARACHI, Oct 12: The Sindh government has directed the State Bank of Pakistan to stop the work being carried out in its
old historical building (originally the State Bank of India building) which is protected under the Sindh Cultural Heritage
Protection Act, it is learnt.

Sources said the directive had been issued by the Karachi Building Control Authority, a team of which visited the bank and
saw the on-going work and later issued the directive.
The sources said as the SBP staff refused to receive the KBCA directive, it was sent to the central bank through courier.
They said the SBP intended to establish a monetary museum in the beautiful old colonial-style sandstone building, situated
next to the SBP head office on I. I. Chundrigar Road.
They said nobody, including its owner, could carry out any repair, restoration or reconstruction work in a building protected
under the act, which prescribes long prison terms and heavy fines for violators.

An NOC is required from the Advisory Committee on Cultural Affairs, headed by the provincial chief secretary, for carrying
out any such work at the site protected under the act.

KBCA approval is also mandatory for carrying out any construction, demolition etc work in any building in the city. The SBP
does not have any of the mandatory permissions, the sources added.
The KBCA‘s Oct 11 directive to the SBP on the subject: ―Addition/alteration work without mandatory approval required
under relation No 15 – 3.1 KBCTPR – 2002 in notified heritage building‖ says:
―With reference to the above it is observed that addition & alteration civil work is found under progress without obtaining
mandatory permission of Advisory Committee for Sindh Cultural Heritage and subsequent approval of this Authority which
is in violation of Clause 15 – 3.1 of Karachi Building and Town Planning Regulations – 2002.
―You are hereby advised to stop all sort of addition and alteration and construction work forthwith till grant of request
permission by the concerned authorities.‖

Answering questions asked by Dawn, senior KBCA official Agha Maqsood Abbas said since the SBP staff was not
receiving the directive, so to avoid an ugly scene between the two government organisations, the KBCA team sent the
advice to the bank through courier.

The SBP‘s official concerned, Dr Asma Ibrahim, in the meantime, wrote a letter on Oct 6 to the advisory committee seeking
permission – it was two days before the publication of a report on the subject in Dawn‘s Oct 8 issue.
The SBP official‘s letter says: ―The State Bank of Pakistan plans to establish a Monetary Museum in the old State Bank
Building, in this regard we want to carry out conservation measures to consolidate the original structures and undo
additions made inside the building in the recent past. The said changes will not alter its look and Plan therefore the
permission for adoptive reuse may kindly be accorded at the earliest.‖

Responding to Dawn queries, Sindh Culture Secretary Shams Jafrani said the department had received the SBP request
for permission to work in the protected old State Bank building a day or two back and well after the publication of the report
on the issue in the media. He said approval could not be granted on a five-line, 66-word letter. The department would ask
the SBP to submit its detailed plans to find out what exactly it wanted to do at the protected site. After which the matter
would be discussed by the advisory committee, and then probably by its technical sub-committee.
(By Bhagwandas, Dawn-17, 13/10/2007)


                                  Gravediggers just gold diggers in this city
KARACHI: Up to Rs 50,000 is the going black market rate these days
for some graveyard plots in the city that officially cost Rs 2,500. And
even then, there is no guarantee your loved one will not be sharing
their final resting place with someone else who made it there first.

―We‘re going to have to burn our dead in the near future as these
graveyards have been closed,‖ said a person visiting Sakhi Hasan
graveyard. He was referring to the closure of nine major graveyards in
the city. ―But even then, gravediggers can arrange a plot over muk
muka (settlement) which is never less than Rs 10,000.‖

The nine graveyards - PECHS, Sakhi Hassan, Mewah Shah, Paposh
Nagar, Hassan Square, Bhangoriya Goth Azizabad, Colony Gate,

                                                             73
Korangi No 6 and Khokarapar – have been officially closed by the city government as they have long crossed their limits.
This does not mean, of course, that burials have stopped. On the contrary, the gravediggers appear to be at liberty to
bargain with the bereaved families.

For example, in the PECHS graveyard, the rate for a grave ranges from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000. The rates at Sakhi
Hassan Graveyard are from Rs 6,000 to Rs 15,000. At Paposh Nagar, it ranges from Rs 5,000 to Rs 12,000. According to
the CDGK rates, when the graveyards were still open an adult grave cost Rs 2,500 and a child‘s grave Rs 1,500.

In its budget for 2006-07, the CDGK did not set aside money for new graveyards. But, according to EDO Finance and
Planning Naila Wajid they recently set aside Rs 10 million for graveyard boundary walls. She could not remember how
much had been set aside for new graveyards.

North Nazimabad UC 8 Shadman Town nazim Memood Murtaza Rizvi told Daily Times that according to his estimates the
Sakhi Hasan graveyard has over 29,000 graves.

Part of the problem is that even though the CDGK has set aside land for new graveyards, they are far from the city centre.
Thus, burials continue in the centrally located graveyards. ―Gravediggers are violating the CDGK‘s bye-laws,‖ DO Municipal
and Public Health Dr Shaukat Zaman told Daily Times. ―They know about abandoned graves, which they sell for a
charming amount of cash.‖ Otherwise the CDGK‘s rate includes all the expenses that need to be paid to a gravedigger. The
annual registration fee for a gravedigger is Rs 10,000 but only two percent of them are on the books.

The Board of Revenue has provided land for a new graveyard on the Super Highway 18km from Sohrab Goth for which a
boundary is being erected. Out of 182 graveyards in Karachi, 70 are under the control of the CDGK and 112 are under run
by different housing societies or NGOs. Out of CDGK‘s 70 graveyards, 64 are for Muslims.

The CDGK has acquired land for graveyards in remote areas of the city: 580 acres on Super Highway, 400 acres in Deh
Choarh and 29 acres in Deh Mull in Malir Town, 45 acres in Redhi, 29 acres in sector 5, Scheme 33 and 75 acres in Deh
Doozan in Sector 44, Scheme 33. It has also formed three committees - City, Town Graveyard and Personnel committees -
to look into these matters. The Personnel committee is controlled by the Union Council (UC) nazim who is the custodian of
graveyards falling within the limits of his or her UC.
(By Irfan Aligi, DailyTimes-B1, 13/10/2007)


                                               Land-grabbing bonanza
LAND-GRABBING around the metropolitan suburbs in developing countries is commonplace. This happens principally in
two ways. Long-established settlements are usurped by the land mafia, by first intimidating the residents, and if that fails,
employing brute force to evacuate the place.

The other way is when politically influential land predators bend the rules to facilitate personal acquisition of vast tracts of
land. Compared to the blatancy of the first method, the later is a more covert operation.

For those who have missed the breaking news emanating from the capital, let‘s recap the sordid details. A local journalist
broke the story on Oct 10 about Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry‘s directive to the Capital Development Authority to cancel
allotment of all farms in Chak Shehzad, which are being used for residential purposes.

These plots were initially allocated — during the 1970s through the 1990s — at highly subsidised rates for growing
vegetables and poultry farming, ostensibly, to meet the growing demands of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

The CDA later modified its by-laws to enable some powerful people to resell these plots at many times their throwaway cost
price. According to this report, President General Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz bought their five
acres and 2.5 acres at Chak Shehzad, respectively, in 2003. The divulged list of 499 owners of these plots predictably
include top military officers, high-ranking officials and bureaucrats, who in all own 2,500 acres of land currently priced at
Rs75bn.

I knew the owners of an opulent house in this very area, whom I happened to visit about 10 years ago. Their house had a
huge front lawn and a matching vegetable patch at the back, which was obviously for private use. The area where such
houses are located is not set up for collection of produce from each house and delivery to the marketplace.

Also, no one is likely to set up an economically viable poultry farm in a residential area, which this is, because of the
unhygienic conditions that are generally part of battery farming.The chairman of CDA, Mr Kamran Lashari, confirmed that
the report of the new survey of Chak Shehzad and its surroundings would be submitted to the apex court. It will be
interesting to see if there is a change of tack by CDA, following the directive of the Chief Justice. CDA‘s track record on
implementing the court‘s orders leaves much to be desired.

In Feb 2006, in the case ‗Moulvi Iqbal Haider vs CDA and others‘, the Supreme Court declared that commercial activities in
public parks violated Article 26 of the Constitution and was contrary to the by-laws of Islamabad.

The court revoked the lease granted by CDA to Mr Shah Sharabeel to build and operate a mini golf course in the F-7
Jubilee Park. This followed an effective campaign against the project by Fauzia Minallah, a local artist.

Further, the court ordered CDA to start disciplinary action against the staff responsible for executing the lease.

The reason this has almost certainly not been done is that such a lease must have had the blessings of Mr Kamran Lashari
who is a crony of Mr Sharabeel. Also, nothing has been done by the authority yet to restore the park to its original condition
after building work was stopped, what to talk of it being improved!

This shows the sulkiness of CDA and its chairman at having their plans overturned. It has deprived the people of the
nearby crowded slum, euphemistically called the ―French Colony‖, of their only public space.


                                                              74
This lack of care for an existing park, made worse by CDA‘s arrogant disregard for the court ruling, led to it giving a lease to
McDonalds (of which the Lakson Group holds the franchise) to cut out a large chunk of the Fatima Jinnah Park for selling
unhealthy fast food. When the Chief Justice was removed from his position, Mr Sharabeel publicly insulted him and his
decision on cancelling the golf course at a public gathering.

The cases described above illustrate where the CDA has clearly failed to implement the court‘s directives in letter and spirit.
This is also true for the demolition of 150 dangerous high-rise buildings in Murree, several of which the court had ordered
be destroyed eight years ago!

One hopes that the court will gain the teeth to ensure that its writ is respected and executed.

When I shared the sensational news of the possible cancellation of the Chak Shehzad leases with Humaira Rahman in
Toronto (she and Navaid Hussain are founders of Shehri, the brave NGO in Karachi that has fought illegal construction for
years), she sent me a report describing land-grabbing of the more overt kind.

This is what it said… The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the Urban Resource
Centre, Karachi that one person was shot dead and more than 10 were injured by thugs, with the help of the police, during
an illegal demolition on Oct 3, 2007.

Twelve police jeeps from the Korangi Township came along with bulldozers to the 300-year-old village, the Juma Kalmati
Goth, Ibrahim Hyderi town, Karachi. About 50 to 60 armed people, some in police uniform, emerged from the jeeps and
started demolishing the houses.

Juma Kalmati Goth comes under Bin Qasim town. Individuals from the Korangi Township carried out the demolition, which
is a stronghold of the ruling MQM party.

After the incident, the nazim of Korangi town, Jan Alam Jamote, vehemently denied that his town office conducted the
demolition of the village. However, witnesses identified that the demolition vehicles and police jeeps were marked as
originating from Korangi Township.

It is regrettable that the investigation into the killing of Mr Sultan Junejo and those injured by gunshots has not been
launched yet. This case also illustrates how easily the police can be arbitrarily mobilised in such an illegal operation, for an
ulterior purpose or interest, instead of protecting a citizen‘s life and property.

AHRC naively asks concerned people to write letters of protest to the president, the chief justice of Sindh, registrar of the
Supreme Court, governor and chief minister of Sindh and a few others to the email addresses provided. People who do
send in letters will almost certainly not have their notes attended to. I have recently tested the mailing section and email
addresses of the registrar and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and found the place grossly under-staffed to adequately
handle the average of 700 mails that it receives daily.

Nevertheless, the Chief Justice remains the only recourse for justice for the uprooted fisher folk of Juma Kalmati Goth.
Along with disposing off the scandal of the ‗legalised‘ land-grabbing by Islamabad‘s sophisticated land mafia, may he also
focus the court‘s attention on the plight of the poor Sindhi fisher folk who have been illegally ousted them from their homes
by the muscle-men of the politically powerful MQM.
(By Q. Isa Daudpota, Dawn-6, 14/10/2007)


                                           Architects’ role in city planning
                                                    By Arif Hasan
A DISCERNING visitor looking at buildings and public space in any city can easily assess four things. These are the state
of the architecture and planning professions in the city; the quality of education provided by academic institutions in these
disciplines; the culture of the local government representatives, decision-makers and the elite; and the state of civic
agencies. Karachi scores poorly on all four counts.

Over the last decade and a half, a very large number of institutional and public use buildings have come up in Karachi.
These include educational institutions, health facilities, pedestrian bridges and administrative buildings.

Except for a handful they are all climatically unsuitable, functionally inappropriate, aesthetically displeasing and of no
particular architectural style. Most of them are aggressively monumental and adorned with fake Islamic symbols.
The architecture of the marriage halls is better for at least it has a certain style and reflects its function and the culture of its
users.

A few good commercial buildings have been built in Karachi, especially in the last decade. However, most of them fit badly
in the urban landscape adding to vehicular congestion at their entrances and exit points, especially to their car parking
spaces.

This is more serious in the congested central business district and the old city and on the corridors that have been declared
‗commercial‘ by the city government.
The reason for this is that bylaws and zoning regulations for these sensitive areas have been developed without urban
design exercises.

An urban design exercise relates various social, environmental, architectural, heritage, governance and infrastructure
issues to each other and to the larger city context.

The only time such an exercise was carried out was in the 1950s when volumetric studies were undertaken for the planning
of Nazimabad. It is a matter of concern that in this city of 15 million no academic institution offers a degree in urban design,
conservation or in urban and regional planning.



                                                                75
In recent times, a lot of monuments on roundabouts have been built by commercial concerns as a ‗gift‘ to the city. Again,
most of them are aggressive and aesthetically displeasing if not downright ugly. In many cases, the roundabouts and the
green spaces developed in them are inaccessible to citizens.

In addition, the city is becoming increasingly unfriendly to pedestrians and to the hawkers and vendors that serve its lower-
income citizens. Pavements have disappeared and away from the VIP corridors where the majority of Karachiites live, they
are non-existent.

There is no planning for accommodating activities that evolve around bus stops or a proper relationship between them and
pedestrian bridges. There are no pedestrian precincts or enforcement of rules related to zebra crossings. Being a
pedestrian is simply hell in Karachi and this hell is increasing with every passing day.

The issues above do not say much for the architectural and planning professions. The vast majority of their members
produce bad work. Also, as professions they have failed, unlike in many other countries, to influence the decision-makers
and their clients. They must honestly ask themselves why this is so.The issues above do not say much for the decision-
makers and clients either.

The present state of architecture and public space is the result of their bad taste, wrong priorities, neglect of heritage, lack
of interest in the needs of the pedestrian and commuting public and their failure to involve the best in the profession in the
development of the city.
It is only through such an involvement that they can develop the necessary knowledge and institutions required for the
creation of a better physical, and hence better social, environment.

For instance, the building of the Muhammad Bin Qasim Park was well-intentioned and is a great contribution to the city of
Karachi.

However, if a conservation architect had been associated with it, the new construction would have been somewhat different
in colour and texture from the Jahangir Kothari Parade so that the Parade would stand out as a historic monument of a
different age.

Also, if architectural professionals had been associated, it is unlikely that the fences would have blocked the view to the
ocean and to the entrance pavilion to the Parade.

Maybe, certain aspects such as the street of seashells and fish vendors would have been preserved in the design; the
physical and social relationship between the mazaar, vendors and the ocean (which had evolved over time) would have
been respected; and the relationship of the various functions within the mazaar would have been enhanced rather than
violated.

And, perhaps, lime mortar instead of cement would have been used for conservation-related work.
The recent development projects also point to the need for a major improvement in management and technical skills within
local government agencies.
The flyover and underpasses which have been built, except for the Hino Chowk flyovers, are of a very poor quality as
compared to those built in other Asian cities. Also, no project is ever completed.

Debris is not lifted, the last paving stones and manhole covers are not installed, the spaces below the flyovers in many
cases remain in shambles for months after the completion of the flyovers.
The massive road works that have been carried out in Karachi over the last few years have resulted in terrible sufferings for
the people of this city simply because of poor planning and management. The question one is forced to ask is whether this
was because of professional constraints or simply because the decision-makers did not care?

To create a better physical environment, the architecture and planning professions and the decision-makers have to come
closer together and this relationship should be institutionalised.
The professions should create a cell with full-time architects working in it for this purpose.

Given the large and lucrative architectural practices in this city, the cost of such a cell is easily affordable. The local
government should consult with this cell on all architecture and planning related issues.
It should also be decided that for all institutional buildings architectural competitions will be held and will be judged by an
international jury.

In addition, international urban design competitions should be arranged (through an association of the professions and local
government) for Saddar, the inner city and the new developments on the Northern Bypass.

These competitions should be exhibited in a big way and discussions with NGO and CBO involvement should be arranged
around them.
This will not only create an awareness of important urban design and architectural issues but, if properly managed, will also
create a new vitality in the professions and in local government institutions which Karachi desperately needs. Many cities,
such as Istanbul, have benefited enormously from such a process.

However, for the process to be meaningful, professional institutions and local government agencies have to have a certain
level of dedication and competence. How does one assess this? If it is not there, how does one create it? These are
important questions that need to be answered.

In the print and electronic media, many commentators constantly point out that our people do not follow rules and
regulations, they are rowdy and in some cases the word ‗uncivilised‘ is used. However, it has to be understood that the
physical environment to a very great extent determines how people behave.

The difference is obvious if you compare how people behave at the Daewoo bus terminal or at the airport as compared to
Badami Bagh or the Cantonment Railway Station. The same difference was visible when travelling in a Karachi mini bus as
compared to the green bus (when they functioned) although the people in both cases were the same.
(By Arif Hasan, Dawn-7, 17/10/2007)

                                                              76
                                         The politics behind land reforms
Officials, politicians and activists at a seminar titled ‗People‘s dialogue on land reforms‘, organised by NGOs in the city,
recently underlined the importance of bringing land reforms in order to create socio-economic equality because reforms are
deemed a prerequisite for the democratic process. They urged the rulers to distribute 3.8 million acres of government land
in Sindh to reduce poverty and create jobs.

One speaker lamented that the Sindh government has allocated 73,000 acres of state land to the military just for its firing
squad in Sukkur district.

Referring to the perceived peasant movements from Okara to Thatta, where 2.2 million acres of fertile land has been
eroded by the sea, speakers say that land reforms are also imperative to prevent an influx of rural population to the cities,
putting extra burden on the already precarious civic facilities.

Stressing on the End of Colonisation Act of 1912, under which the lands were granted to feudal lords, speakers criticised
the successive regimes, which perpetuated the interests of the landed gentry in order to prolong their rule and carried out
‗half-hearted land reforms‘ to enhance their image as ‗reformers.‘

In 60s, land reforms were initiated but the same were riddled with loopholes to benefit land owners. For example, the
landlords were allowed to maintain 500 and 1,000 acres of cultivable and uncultivable land respectively. Besides, waderas
(feudal lords) were permitted to keep an extra 150 acres for orchards or livestock. Furthermore, they were entitled to gift
their lands to their relatives.

Land reforms in the 70s also contained the same flaws though a permissible level of land was reduced from 500 acres to
150 acres cultivable and 300 uncultivable. This time also, the feudal landlords were allowed to transfer their lands in name
of their relatives. Hence, there has always been a built-in mechanism of abuse which results in the failure of such reforms.

Later, in the 80s, the rulers lost interest in such rhetoric. However, a big blow to land reforms occurred when the Shariah
Court declared them un-Islamic. Unlike Pakistan, India — our counterpart in the independence movement — proved to be a
better example with respect to land reforms. This was the result of the influence the landlords wielded on politics, which
was partly a result of their strategic alliance with the founder party, the Pakistan Muslim League.

Subsequently, they prevented effective land reforms as a result of which proper economic and political development could
not take place. Nothing really changed as far as land reforms are concerned where, quite like the colonial era, landlords got
power which ultimately led to their control over local administrations. Thus, with tacit support of the officials, the feudalists
became successful in preventing socio-economic reforms in their areas of influence as their capacity to gain votes rested
on coercion and other methods.

Observers have pointed out three negative effects of influence of feudalism over the country‘s politics namely, the
supposed de-politicisation of rural population, emergence of an intolerant culture and the frequent changes of loyalty
among politicians, popularly known as ‗lota-cracy.‘

However, this is not considered to be the complete story behind the failure of democratic process in the country. Other
factors are also responsible for the stunted growth of society and politics. This includes the abuse of state apparatus.
Regrettably, this practice still remains rampant in the country, mostly targeting the weak segment of society and those who
dare to say ‗no‘ to the rulers‘ policies. Law enforcement agencies flagrantly violate the rights of people without being
accountable to anyone.

Another reason behind the underdevelopment of society is the lack of stable institutions, which is mainly a result of
dominance of ambitious military generals over politics and the economy. The election commission is widely believed to be
ineffective, while the parliament is known as a rubber stamp. Another disturbing aspect of this scenario is that the quality of
debate over legislation and finance has deteriorated recently. Political and religious intolerance has also hindered the
democratic process in the form of disturbances like ethnic clashes, which can take its toll on human lives.

Apart from dialogue on the much-needed land reforms, another significant development in the city was the visit of an
eminent lawyer and legislator Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan who, as part of his campaign for his nomination of the presidency of
Supreme Court Bar Association, was here. He also deliberated on several issues during his chat with media pesonnel. He
claimed that the presidential election has ―weakened‖ General Pervez Musharraf. He also criticised the irresponsible
attitude of the politicians but avoided commenting on the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).

Perhaps, one can understand the motives behind his reluctance, as he is the legislator of a party, which is widely believed
to be the main beneficiary of the NRO.

However, it will be advisable for all political forces to join together and launch a sustained movement for a participatory,
political and economic process as the ―elite bargain or deal or understanding‖ already failed in the 90s.
(By Imtiaz Ali, The News, 18/10/2007)


                                               Wake-up call to planners
THE DHA (Karachi) is certainly undertaking a lot of development projects, particularly in its phase VIII. Of the 12,000 or so
acres, phase VIII (only) constitutes almost half. Of the rest, phase VI (alone) occupies half.
The rest (phases I, II, III, IV, V and VII) occupy the last quarter roughly. In other words, half of DHA is phase VIII, phase VI
a quarter, and all other phases (combined together) the last 1/4.

There are huge amounts of development funds readily available but must they be spent on the development of one or two
(phases VIII and VI) alone.

Phases IV, V, parts of VI and VII were the most affected areas in the two recent spells of rain, early this monsoon season,
in mid-2007. Fortunately the heavens didn‘t break open again in the actual monsoon season.
                                                              77
Perhaps God and the ‗angels of rain‘ pitied the residence of the above phases, which suffered more than all other districts
of the metropolis combined together. Most of the other city districts were motorable within almost eight to 16 hours after the
rains, except a few small pockets here and there. Thanks to the fruitful efforts of the city government which worked round
the clock, taking immediate action and on-the-spot decisions.

The DHA, on the other hand, acted belatedly. They woke up to the reality almost after a week. And came up with the idea
of isolating their main arteries such as the Beach Avenue, Saba Avenue and Khe-Ittehad, just to name a few, and cutting
drainage channels across them akin to open trenches in the 1965 and ‘71 wars.

Another shining idea almost a week later was to acquire miles of steel pipes, flexible pipes and hoses which, driven by
tractor-driven pumps, were used to drain the mosquito-infested rain and sewerage water from one plot to another, and yet
another across the roads, for months at a stretch. It probably constituted the largest ever ‗portable and flexible‘ drainage
system (if not in the world at least) in Pakistan. Bravo! DHA planners!

By then, thousands of basements and underground water-tanks were filled with stinking water, up to the water level on the
roads such as Khe-Shahbaz, Rahat, etc., not to mention phase IV and V-extension areas. If not the DHA, several affected
residents must have preserved the satellite images of their areas from ‗Google-Earth‘, on the very next day of the three
inches (or so only) of rains twice, a couple of weeks apart.
This must serve as a ‗wake-up call‘ for the planners, developers and the higher-ups of the DHA. I hope. But do we learn
from our past experiences is a big question, to be answered only by the next drops of rain in the metropolis? Answer had
been negative in the past.

IJTABA ZAIDI, Karachi
(Dawn-6, Letter to the Editor, 20/10/2007)


                                       Punjab slum dwellers get ownership
LAHORE: Chief Minister Ch Pervaiz Elahi has announced to grant proprietary rights to the residents of Katchi Abadis
established till December 2006 in the province.

―The Pakistan Peoples Party is against construction of Kalabagh Dam which is of great importance for the country and it
has a dual policy in Sindh and Punjab with regard to this project whereas the PML-Q is developing irrigation and power
sectors on priority basis,‖ the CM said while addressing a public meeting here Sunday. He said Benazir Bhutto did not bring
any plan of public welfare rather she had come to the country with one-point agenda of getting pardon of cases registered
against her. He said she talked about handing over atomic scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan to foreign agencies and
permission to foreign troops to take action on Pakistani soil. He said she had brought an agenda of causing loss to the
country‘s interests but ―we will foil all her nefarious designs through public support.‖ He said she wanted to create chaos
and anarchy by airing provincialism and regionalism.

Pervaiz said Benazir came into power twice but she looted the national exchequer ruthlessly instead of carrying out
development work for the people‘s welfare. He said Nawaz Sharif also came into power twice but he also did nothing for
the people‘s welfare.
(The News-5, 22/10/2007)


                     NED continues work in heritage building despite lack of NOCs
KARACHI, Oct 22: While construction work continues at the NED University‘s city campus building, which is protected
under the Sindh Cultural Heritage Protection Act, the various stakeholders are issuing conflicting statements regarding the
status of the mandatory official permissions and the university management is refusing to talk to the press.

Nobody, including the owner, may undertake any construction in a protected building and the Heritage Act prescribes long
prison terms and heavy fines for violators. Before such work can be initiated, an NOC must be obtained from the advisory
committee on cultural affairs, headed by the provincial chief secretary. However, the Sindh Culture Department maintains
that the relevant permission has not yet been issued to NED University. Furthermore, permission to carry out construction
work in any building in the city must also be sought from the Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA); while NED sources
claimed that they had acquired all the relevant go-aheads, they were unable to provide proof when the KBCA team visited
the site recently.

Dawn‘s sources confirmed that construction work is nearing completion in two of the big halls in the building which is NED
University‘s trademark and whose chimney is considered one of the city‘s landmarks. At least two small platforms, acting as
a mezzanine floor to increase seating space, have been added in one of the halls. Reportedly, the construction was carried
out under the supervision of a technically qualified person and the construction material used matched the original,
including lime mortar.

However, the fundamental question – whether the university has followed the rules and obtained the necessary
permissions – remains unanswered.

U-turn on press statements A few days ago, an NED staffer agreed to furnish Dawn with additional details about the
restoration / construction work being carried out, as well as show documentary evidence of the required NOCs and other
permissions.

On Monday, however, the source informed Dawn that the top NED management and high officials of its Architecture
Department had issued directives forbidding anyone from talking to the press: staffers were asked ―not to talk to the press
on this issue for at least a couple of months or so. Then we will decide to talk or not to talk.‖

When this writer pointed out that the university would lose its right to reply if it refused to put its version on the record before
the publication of the relevant news story, the staffer said that ―the university was aware of this and we may talk to you after
a couple of months or so.‖
                                                                78
Other sources, however, claimed that the university‘s U-turn in terms of talking to the press was due to an ongoing dispute
with its neighbour, the D.J. College. The latter has for some years claimed that it owned the NED University‘s city campus
buildings and since the university had now obtained its own premises which are spread over hundreds of acres, these
buildings should be returned to the college. However, the university maintained that it owned the buildings and there was
no question of ‗returning‘ them. Sources said that the major reason why the NED University refused to talk to the press
about restoration work was because the building‘s ownership was under dispute.

‘NOC not yet issued’
When contacted, the KBCA building controller Agha Maqsood Abbas said that a KCBA team visited the NED campus about
10 days ago. University representatives told the inspection team that all the required permissions had been obtained but
said were not available with the NED staff present at that time. Staff-members committed to submitting these documents to
the KBCA the next day but no move has been made since then.

Mr Abbas said that keeping in mind that the case concerned an educational institution, the KCBA had not yet directed the
university to halt the work. ―We will wait a few more days; if the NOC and permissions have still not been shown and
submitted to the KBCA, the university will be directed to stop the work,‖ he said.

Meanwhile, the Sindh Culture Secretary, Shams Jafrani, told Dawn that NED University had submitted an application
seeking permission for construction from the advisory committee. The committee had asked one of its members, senior
architect Arif Hasan, to review the project.

Reportedly, Mr Hasan said in a March 30, 2006, report to the department that he had been a member of the committee that
had scrutinised the NED restoration project for a federal government organisation in 2003, when the design and detail of
the project had been approved. ―Since then, detailed specifications and design have been developed strictly in keeping with
conservation principles. Therefore, I feel that permission to implement the project may be granted, especially since a
trained conservator will be looking after the project,‖ said Mr Hasan‘s report to the department, as quoted by Mr Jafarani.

Since then, however, the department‘s file regarding the project has been silent, said Mr Jafrani. Mr Hasan‘s report had not
been presented before the advisory committee for the purposes of reaching a decision ―so as far as the Sindh Culture
Department is concerned, the NOC has not yet been issued which makes the ongoing work illegal,‖ said Mr Jafrani.
However, he said that he would not write to the university about ceasing work just yet. ―We will decide in the next few days
what steps are to be taken on this issue, after discussing the matter with Arif Hasan,‖ he stated.
(By Bhagwandas, Dawn-17, 23/10/2007)


                                       Rs750m for DHA drainage project
KARACHI, Oct 23: The executive board of the Defence Housing Authority (DHA)
on Tuesday allocated Rs750 million for a drainage project which would be completed in two to three years under a phased
programme.

The meeting finalised the name of a consultant firm for the designing of the drainage system and upgrading of the
sewerage system in DHA and was held under the chairmanship of the DHA administrator.
(Dawn-18, 24/10/2007)


                               Poor landing sites in coastal villages common
Passing through a dilapidated road leading to a coastal locality, Rehri, from Ibrahim Hyderi, one may feel excited to see
mangroves trees, easily visible at a short distance from the coastal hamlet. Rehri, with a population of 35,000, is the
second largest area situated on Karachi‘s coast. About 95 per cent of the population gets its livelihood from fishing. The
villagers own about 1,000 fishing boats of different sizes.

Here, one can also see workers were putting together heaps of salt which are left to dry in the sun. Sadly, however, many
small boats have been abandoned at the shore because of low tide. Fishermen are careful about their boats and fishing
tools, as they sit in groups engaged in repairing fishing nets and boat engines.

Interestingly enough, poor landing sites means a more conducive environment for fishermen to carry out their everyday
activities. For example, children can be seen swimming at the beach and going near the mangroves to catch crabs. Each
boy earns anywhere between Rs50 to Rs300 daily depending on the size of their catch. They sell crabs to local traders at
the landing sites.

The female workforce brings mangrove leaves on boats from nearby forests and off-loads the same at the beach. This they
sell as fodder for the livestock. ―These mangroves provide us food and fuel. We are aware of the importance of these trees.
Our children cannot think of destroying it. We are the traditional custodians of these waters,‖ said Nawaz Dablo, an activist
of Dabla locality.

Landhi and Korangi industrial zones reportedly discharge the entire effluent in the sea in the Union Council (UC) Rehri
jurisdiction. Besides, 700 million gallon of sewerage is being discharged into the sea from Cattle Colony alone.

Despite pleas made by the locals, authorities are reluctant to take action against the responsible of this havoc, he added.
The UC does not have sufficient funds for development and, hence, it is unable to address the problems of the community.

The authorities have neglected the village with the result that the once beautiful landscapes of the area are quickly
vanishing.

Furthermore, residents do not have access to potable water and heaps of garbage can be seen everywhere. It is because
of the inadequate health and sanitation facilities that water-borne diseases are a common problem in the area. The
increasing level of pollution at the seashore, and the lack of planning at the UC and town level are making life more and
more difficult for residents by the day.
                                                            79
Ayoub Shan, a former councilor of UC Rehri, said that ―Pollution is major problem which has caused the destruction of
mangrove forests. It is a home for shrimps and natural beauty which should be preserved.‖
Not only this but also the rates of most essential commodity items are on rise. The fishermen cannot afford to buy flour at
Rs20 per kg. ―Unfortunately, the rates of shrimp and other fish are declining day by day. A majority of the people live below
the poverty line. This is an attempt to destroy the fishing community,‖ he said.

Reports show that the over-grazing of camels and the chopping of trees for fuel wood and fodder has resulted in the
stunting of the growth of mangroves in many areas. They are of the opinion that a lack of community ownership of the
mangroves is also a problem.
The level of the sea is far above the ground, which is why sanitation is a continuous problem in Dabla. Residents say they
face problems twice in month during the high tides. The rainy season creates major problems for the community and some
times, they have no choice but to move to different areas.
(By Jan Khaskheli, The News-20, 24/10/2007)


                         Cabinet grants 1,550 acres to PQA at throwaway price
KARACHI: The Sindh Cabinet, which met here Wednesday with Chief Minister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim in chair, approved
a grant of 1,550 acres of land to the Port Qasim Authority at a very nominal rate of one million rupees per acre.
This includes 300 acres of land for a proposed Garment City and 1,250 acres for a Textile City. The market price of the
land is around Rs 2.5 million per acre but the provincial cabinet approved the discounted rate to facilitate the projects,
Rahim told the press at a briefing after the meeting at the secretariat building.

The cabinet also approved the lease of a Sports Complex plot on M. A. Jinnah road to a private company for 30 years.
Sixty percent of the facility will be used for sports and 40 percent for commercial purposes.
The cabinet further approved granting a 100-acre piece of land in Hawks Bay area to the City District Government that is
expected to grant it to a private company to set up a desalination plant. It was decided that the lands and other properties
including depots of the now defunct Sindh Road Transport Corporation across the province should be sold to respective
district governments.

A committee composed of the secretaries of law, finance, local government and transport departments was formed to
evaluate the land and other properties. The amount will be used to repay loans to the World Bank, Rahim said.
The cabinet deferred the liquidation of the Thatta and Dadu Sugar Mills, as the bids received were lower than the reserve
price.
(DailyTimes-B1, 25/10/2007)


                                  Court asks for record in Sabzi Mandi case
KARACHI, Oct 25: Special Judge Anti-Corruption Karachi, Syed Gul Munir Shah, on Thursday directed officials of the
Karachi master plan to produce the layout and land records of the New Sabzi Mandi in court on October 31.
The technical officer of the anti-corruption establishment was directed to appear in court in order to answer technical
queries about the land scam case against various government officials.

The administrator of the market committee, Ghulam Nabi Chakrani, the secretary of the market committee, Saeed-ul-
Hassan Zaidi, the director-general of the government of Sindh‘s Agriculture Extension, Naeem Ahmed Korejo, and Ashiq
Hussain, a section officer of the PMP Agriculture Department, government of Sindh, are facing charges in the land scam
that involved millions of rupees.

The market committee officials, who were present in the court, had been granted interim bail by a link court of district and
sessions judge Inam-ur-Rehman of the Labour Court on October 11. The period of their interim bail was also extended to
October 31 on Thursday.

According to the prosecution, the case was registered on the basis of an inquiry into a complaint (No 249/07) of the anti-
corruption establishment. The men are accused of having converted 164 amenity plots into shops. Under the Karachi
master plan, these plots had been reserved for a fire station, a service station, a weighbridge and lavatories.

During the inquiry, a raid was conducted on July 19 on the office of the market committee in Gulshan-i-Iqbal and the
relevant record was seized. It showed that the accused acted without the permission of the competent authority and in
violation of the approved layout plan. According to the prosecution, the allottees of Block AF-1, which was created on
amenity plots, and representatives of Nazir Khan, Gul Shah and Asmatullah appeared before the inquiry team and claimed
that they had paid market committee administrator Ghulam Nabi Chakrani Rs7 million for the allotments.

Defence counsel Irfan Tirmizi argued that his clients had done nothing wrong since land allotment was the duty of a high-
powered committee and the accused were merely signing authorities. He argued that no party had so far been given
physical possession of the land and termed the case against the officials baseless. Mr Tirmizi said that it was the duty of
the department concerned to take notice of any irregularities and added that the secretary agriculture should be contacted
in this regard.

The court directed Investigation Officer Chaudhry Hamidullah to ensure the production of the required land record and
maps at the next hearing.
(Dawn-17, 26/10/2007)


                                        Demarcation of villages ordered
KARACHI, Oct 26: Sindh Minister for Local Government, Katchi Abadis and Spatial Development Mohammad Hussain
Khan has asked the goth-abad and revenue authorities to conduct a joint survey of notified villages at the city periphery
areas to ascertain the factual data of houses and their inhabitants.

                                                            80
He issued the directive while presiding over a meeting of the liaison committee formulated for resolving land disputes of the
Malir Development Authority and Lyari Development Authority in his office here on Friday.

The minister ordered that the notified villages be measured at the earliest to discourage land-grabbers who tried to occupy
land in the name of goths (villages). Besides, he said, poles indicating jurisdictions of villages should be erected.
He also asked revenue authorities to activate the zonal committees, announced earlier, in this regard.

Mr Hussain said the government would not allow encroachment on government land as it created hurdles in planning and
expansion of some ongoing development projects.
He said the demarcation of notified villages was necessary to ensure that the uplift projects benefited only genuine villages.
Overnight emergence of a locality with the support of land mafia in the name of a goth would never be tolerated, he added.

The minister asked the Scheme-33 project director and the managing-directors of the MDA and the LDA to extend all
possible assistance to the board of revenue and gothabad department to benefit genuine villagers living here for many
years.

Special Secretary (Housing) Ali Azhar Baloch, Sindh Katchi Abadis Authority Director-General Ali Ahmed Lund, LDA
Director-General Sarfaraz Khan, MDA Director-General Amirzada Kohati and officers of revenue and goth-abad
departments attended the meeting.
(Dawn-18, 27/10/2007)


                   SHC summons nazim, mineral water factory in citizen’s petition
KARACHI: Pre-admission notices were issued to the proprietor of a mineral water factory, the city nazim Mustafa Kamal,
secretary cooperative housing societies, secretary post and telegraph society and KBCA controller for Nov 9 in a
constitutional petition filed by Abdul Majeed Pasha of the P&T Society Friends Welfare Association.

The notices were issued Friday by a division bench of the Sindh High Court.

The petition maintains that since a factory producing mineral water was established in the area three years ago, water
tankers, long trailers and other heavy vehicles had been frequenting the narrow lanes of the area. It says that not only has
it disrupted the peace of the people and put school-going children at risk, water leaking from these tankers was causing the
spread of epidemics.
(DailyTimes-B1, 27/10/2007)


                                 Fire destroys 14 studios of Radio Pakistan
KARACHI, Oct 28: A huge fire in the century-old Radio Pakistan building on M. A. Jinnah Road gutted all the 14 studios
and destroyed equipment and archival material worth millions of rupees, including instruments used since the first day of its
broadcast operations.

The fire, which broke out at 11.30am in Studio Eight of the building‘s
first floor, rapidly spread through the mostly wooden structure and
caused panic among the children taking part in a flagship
programme of the Karachi station ‗Bachon Ki Dunya‘. They were
evacuated before the fire department‘s operation began.

Officials said it took more than three hours to control the spreading
fire and the ancient structure made the job a little harder as the
firefighters took extra care to prevent further losses during the
operation.

The fire forced suspension of the radio broadcast for a couple of
hours, which was later resumed through the standby transmitters.

―Our 15 fire tenders took part in the firefighting operation. The
tenders were assisted by almost a dozen water takers and fire
tenders of the KPT (Karachi Port Trust) and the DHA (Defence
Housing Authority),‖ said Chief Fire Officer Ehtishamuddin, who led
the operation.

He said the cause of the fire had not been determined but suspected
that it might be the result of an electric short-circuit or a serious
human error. Though, he said, the fire caused serious losses to the equipment, it could not damage the building in a big
way because of its better architecture and well-planned construction.

―By the end of our operation the first floor of the building was almost gutted but we succeeded in keeping the fire confined
to the first floor till finish,‖ he added.

Hundreds of people had gathered outside the historical building, which was enveloped in huge columns of black smoke.
Later, the area police took the charge and drove the spectators, gathered at the gate of the building, to the main M. A.
Jinnah Road to ensure smooth movement of the fire tenders.

The historical building has housed the Radio Pakistan Karachi Station since 1949, when it was shifted here from the
Intelligence School on Queens Road (now M.T. Khan Road) after a year of its broadcast operations.

In 1949, the building was owned by a local government body and was later acquired by the Pakistan Broadcast
Corporation.
                                                             81
Sources in Radio Pakistan said the fire damaged almost all the 14
studios on the first floor of the two-storey building and burnt dozens
of archival pieces, including musical and broadcast equipment
preserved as relics of the past.

―The destroyed items included two big pianos, which are now
considered as antiques, violins and sitars,‖ said a source associated
with Radio Pakistan. ―Several microphones which were used in
iconic dramas‘ production by Radio Pakistan are also among the
damaged equipment and the production unit of the building is badly
affected.‖

He said the administration was assessing the losses caused by the
fire but initial findings suggested the losses would be worth more
than Rs20 million.

The celebrated Studio-9, which had produced several mega-hit radio
series, was also destroyed in the fire while huge facilities such as
14, B-2 and B-6, which used to host musical programmes and quiz
shows, where people could attend such productions and participate
live, were no more after the fire swept through the building.

A chair belonging to Z.A. Bukhari, the first Radio Pakistan director-general, which was also presented as an honour to sit in
to different dignitaries visiting the historical building, was also among the destroyed relics.

Iqbal Faridi, station director of Radio Pakistan Karachi, said the losses were worth millions of rupees but a committee to be
formed by the Pakistan Broadcast Corporation would determine both the value of the losses and the cause of the fire.
―We have standby transmitters to keep the transmission on,‖ he said. ―Our library is intact and safe, so there is no damage
to our priceless records but the losses of the equipment and infrastructure are huge at the same time.‖

Ronaq Hayat, deputy controlling engineer of Radio Pakistan, did not see the studios destroyed by the fire getting back to
operations in the near future.
―We are trying our best to take the minimum time for its renovation and get it equipped with the required stuff,‖ he added.
―But obviously the intensity of the fire has almost ruined such facilities, which would take time to rehabilitate.‖

The incident also sent shockwaves up to Islamabad, where the DG of the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, Javed
Akhtar, flew in here in the evening.
―The DG is likely to hold a meeting with the Karachi station officials on late Sunday evening, where he may constitute an
inquiry committee for the losses‘ assessment and the cause of the fire,‖ said the source.
(By Imran Ayub, Dawn-13, 29/10/2007)


                             Fire damages studios at Radio Pakistan building
KARACHI: A massive fire erupted on Sunday at the Radio Pakistan building, a historic monument of the city, disrupting the
transmission from the Karachi station for some time. Luckily, there was no casualty.
The century-old building located on the main MA Jinnah Road caught fire at 10:45 a.m. At that time, a number of children,
along with comperes and relevant staff, were present for the recording of a weekly children‘s programme. They were safely
evacuated.

Fire engulfed the ground and the first floor of the building and spread rapidly due to its wooden interior. The control room,
switch room and some fourteen studios were damaged. However, expensive installations and the old record of the station
remained safe, sources said.

The fire caused no casualty or injury. Fifteen fire tenders and two snorkels of the City Government, two fire tenders from
the KPT and three from the DHA participated in the firefighting operation that lasted for hours before the fire was put out.

Many volunteers from the Edhi Welfare Trust, KKF, Hilal-i-Ahmer, Chippa and other NGOs also participated in the rescue
operation.

―Most of the studios were gutted because of the specific interior of the building that was not resistant to fire,‖ Chief Fire
Officer Ehtesham Salim told The News. ― The chipboard and wiring system inside the building also helped the fire to spread
quickly.‖

He said it was too early to point out what exactly had caused the fire but it could be assumed that the incident occurred due
to a short- circuit. ―The building is now dangerous and will require complete renovation,‖ he added.
(By Farooq Baloch, The News-1, 29/10/2007)


                                           Lahore’s heritage needs care
NEGLECT threatens to deprive Lahore of its archaeological heritage. Its magnificent Mughal monuments are fast running
the risk of losing their splendour to the fatal combination of pollution, human intervention and a lack of money and expertise
to conserve and restore them. Even when the money is made available by an enthusiastic donor, the problem of finding
right men and materials to bring an ageing building back to its youth is always there. The recent restoration of a craft
bazaar at the entrance of the splendid Masjid Wazir Khan within the walled city underscores the gravity of the problem. The
freshly done frescos are blurring into undistinguishable ugly patterns and the dark brown plaster is peeling off in big chunks
to reveal an ugly layer of white lime. The restoration of the bazaar was made possible by a grant of $18,000 from the
American embassy in 2003 which, a year later, provided another $31,000 for the purpose. The project, completed on June
30, 2006 and executed by the Punjab Archaeology Department, however failed to involve any known
                                                             82
archaeologist/conservationist which only ensured that the materials used and drawings followed were not scientifically
tested and approved. The inferior quality of the restoration, therefore, should surprise none of those closely connected with
the project as well as those who want to see the Masjid regain its original beauty. But still the department owes to well-
meaning donors and concerned citizens an answer to the question as to why on earth it took up a job it did not have the
know-how to accomplish.

This badly done restoration is worrying for two reasons. For the donors the money that has been wasted in this transient
restoration may not be big enough to lose sleep over but it will certainly make them think twice before they are asked to
make similar donations in future and for other monuments. More importantly, the messy job done by the department will
certainly be quite difficult, if not altogether impossible, to rectify. Not many outsiders, however, will be willing to lend a
helping hand if and when that rectification is thought of.
(Dawn-7, 30/10/2007)


                                     Another fire breaks out in Saddar Town
Another fire erupted in the city‘s business district Saddar Town when flames caused by short circuit engulfed shop No 27 D
of Iqbal Centre on Monday. It is the second fire incident in this market during the last couple of months.

The fire erupted at about 11am in a warehouse of plastic and inflammable goods in one of the shops of Iqbal Centre
located on M A Jinnah Road near Dil Pasand sweetmeats. Eight fire tenders of the city government were sent to the place
that took nearly three hours to control the same. No casualties were reported in the incident but one person was reported to
have inhaled excessive smoke as he fell unconscious.

The fire extinguishing operation caused a massive traffic jam on main M A Jinnah Road and caused hardship to the
residents of the area. The sources from the fire brigade department told this correspondent that this is peak season for the
eruption of fire and most of them are caused by electric short circuit.
(The News-13, 30/10/2007)


                                          Radio Pakistan premises
                                 Land ownership controversy erupts after fire
A controversy has erupted over the land ownership after Sunday‘s raging fire in the Radio Pakistan building, which gutted
15 studios.

The City District Government Karachi (CDGK) is the owner of this land worth billions of rupees and is considering
occupancy of this land after the huge fire. Reports doing the rounds are that some elements have become active in an
effort to shift Radio Pakistan‘s Karachi office to a new building in Gulshan-e-Iqbal opposite the Civic Centre. The present
premise is rented out to the AG Sindh Building.

CDGK sources maintain that no one would be allowed to sell this prime land. The officials at that time claimed that the land
of the present Radio Pakistan building and the Veterinary Hospital were owned by the District Local Government Board,
Karachi, and later transferred to the District Council, Karachi.

At that time, the late G.M. Syed used to sit in these two premises as President of the District Local Government Board. The
land today is supposed to be owned by the city government. On the other hand, former officials of Radio Pakistan, Karachi,
say that this land is owned by Radio Pakistan and was purchased either from the District Local Government Board,
Karachi, or the District Council, Karachi, but have yet to produce documentary proof in this regard.

The officials said that when it was purchased there was a binding stipulation that this land will only be utilised for the
construction of Radio Pakistan Building. Now, after the fire, the building presents a haunted look and transmissions are
running with some temporary set ups, Radio Pakistan sources claimed.
It is also being reported that there is a big conspiracy behind Sunday‘s massive blaze pertaining to the plans of some Radio
Pakistan officials in Lahore and Islamabad to sell this land worth billions of rupees, despite that it has been declared as a
heritage building.

According to the plan, say these officials, it will be shown that the Radio Pakistan building is already operating in Gulshan-
e-Iqbal, and hence all operations should be shifted there and the old building, along with its land, should be disposed of.

According to real estate agents, the land in question is worth billions of rupees. However, a former KMC official, when
contacted by The News, said that CDGK is the successor of all the district councils, and, accordingly, the ownership rights
of both the pieces of land - Radio Pakistan, Karachi, and the Veterinary Hospital - belong to the CDGK.

The former official, who desired to remain anonymous, said that under Sections 80-81, the CDGK was the successor of the
district council. Thus the land is owned by the CDGK. Replying to a question, he said that no one can sell this land without
the consent of the CDGK.
(By Fasahat Mohiuddin, The News-13, 30/10/2007)


                                Only 15 fire tenders catering to entire Karachi
With a mere 15 fire tenders available to deal with emergencies in the metropolis, it is safe to state that the city‘s fire brigade
department is extremely ill-equipped to provide security to the lives and properties of the millions of Karachi‘s citizens. At
the heart of this critical situation, according to sources informed of the current state of affairs, is corruption on the part of a
higher official.

On the ground, recent experiences best expose the inadequacy of the fire brigade department and the inaction on the part
of the concerned officials to address these potent shortcomings. Take for example an incident on Monday, in which a fire

                                                               83
engine from the fire brigade‘s head office was sent to participate in an extinguishing operation at Iqbal Centre, M. A. Jinnah
Road. After being dispatched, the fire engine had not even covered half the distance to the operation site when it broke
down. As a result, a fire tender from the Bolton fire station was called in its place.

It would be pertinent to point out that Iqbal Centre is hardly a kilometre away from fire brigade head office, which brings into
question the maintenance of the already thin fleet of fire engines.
Consequently, due to the limited numbers of fire tenders, and the poor quality of those that are actually available, the
victims of fires have had to face huge losses. By the time the tenders manage to reach the site of the blaze, the fire has,
more often than not, already gone out of control or completely gutted the properties of citizens.

On Sunday, the city fire brigade department‘s inadequacies were once again put on show. As a large number of fire
tenders were struggling to cope with the huge fire at the century-old Radio Pakistan building, several other incidents were
reported from other parts of the city.

Reports from fire brigade head office revealed that the department received at least four other complaints of blazes from
the city‘s outskirts in the afternoon while most of their fire tenders were busy tackling the blaze at the Radio Pakistan
building. ―It became extremely difficult for us to manage our fire tenders for later complaints as most were busy in the first
incident,‖ the sources at the office said, adding, ―One could imagine the difficulty in sending a fire tender from M. A. Jinnah
Road to Link Road Super Highway and the extra time wasted meanwhile.‖

Giving details of the incidents, sources told The News that in the early afternoon of Sunday, a fire incident took place in the
meter room of Usmania Bara Market in Paposh Nagar at 2:30p.m. and three fire tenders were sent there. Meanwhile,
another fire broke out in a cardboard warehouse in Qasba Colony, Orangi Town, at 4p.m, where two fire tenders were sent.
Then, a trailer carrying green tea packets from Karachi to Peshawar caught fire near Link Road on the Super Highway, to
which four fire tenders were sent. A fourth fire broke out in a mat shop in Cattle Colony and one fire tender was sent there.
Many of these fire tenders reached the sites very late, resulting in huge losses.

However, even more disturbing is that all the engines sent to the aforementioned spots were the very same ones that were
earlier engaged in the fire extinguishing operation at the Radio Pakistan building. A well informed source in the city fire
brigade department told The News that if DHA and KPT had not sent their fire tenders to help out at the Radio Pakistan
building, the city government would not have been able to send their own fire tenders to the four other places as there were
no fire fighting vehicles available at stations nearby to the incidents.

There are twenty one fire stations in the city which are in supposed running condition - most have only one fire tender each.
A reliable source said that 50 fire tenders were imported in 1997 out of which half a dozen were sent to Hyderabad,
Nawabshah and Sukkur. Some 15 fire tenders have been sent to a factory in the SITE area for the purpose of maintenance
while an equal number of fire engines have outlived their total life and are no more usable.

However, despite the fact that a maintenance budget worth nearly Rs8 million was approved as recently as June-July this
year, no vehicles have been repaired as yet. Presently, the city government has only fifteen fire tenders that are in order.
The source added that the department imported expensive fire engines, each costing Rs13million, but these vehicles are
designed to serve the intricacies of European countries, not Pakistan. The source further said that the fifty Iveco fire
tenders imported in 1997 were all of Fiat Company (a Spanish company) and had an estimated life of some five years
according to the local conditions of Pakistan. With 2007 now coming to an end, these engines have served twice their
estimated lives.

Moreover, not only are fire engines of the make of Hino or Isuzu are more suitable for the peculiarities of a city like Karachi,
they also cost nearly four to six times less than an Iveco fire engine.

The question that arises then is who is responsible. The source said that an executive level officer of the concerned
department of the city government is involved in corruption and is about to be exposed since the city Nazim is after him. An
inquiry is in progress in this regard and this man would shortly be exposed in front of the city Nazim and the citizens. Asked
why the inquiry is taking so much time when the officer in question is already known, he said that the firemen and other
officers of the department are afraid of losing their jobs if they disclose his name but the inquiry committee would soon
present their report and the man would face severe consequences.
(By Farooq Baloch, The News-14, 30/10/2007)


                       Opposition in CDGK inflamed over plot status conversion
The opposition benches of the City District Council resorted to serious protest in the council session on Monday as it
approved commercialisation of an industrial plot on Rashid Minhas Road. The opposition members termed the move a
severe contravention of the land conversion rules of the city government and said that it would seriously retard the process
of industrialisation in the metropolis. City Naib-Nazim Nasreen Jalil chaired the council session.

Opposition leaders in the council said that the city government, giving permission for commercialisation of an industrial
piece of land in Karachi, would set a very bad precedent and would give a valid excuse to other major real estate owners in
the city to exploit their property for maximising their financial gains at the cost of public interest.

They said that real estate business in the city had already got a phenomenal boost and many enterprising capitalists had
been eyeing precious pieces of land in the city to reap huge profits from them.

Industrial plots No LA/2-A and LA/2-B in Block-21, KDA Scheme-16, Federal B Area, measuring 75,000 square yards, had
been proposed for commercialisation on the premise that in addition to the declared commercialised status of the Rashid
Minhas Road, on which it is situated, the plots on its right and back had already been put to use for commercial and
industrial purposes. The owner of the industrial plot in its application to the city Nazim said that he had started shifting his
industry on the plot to the Nooriabad Industrial Zone.

First application of the owner of land was rejected on the basis that Section 3-10 of the land conversion master planning
rules, 2003, of the city-government did not allow conversion of any industrial piece of land for commercial or residential use.

                                                              84
On the second application of the owner, a meeting of the master plan committee of the City-District Government was held
with the chairman commercialisation committee in chair on July 19, which decided that after getting approval of the city
Nazim the matter in question of commercialisation of the industrial plot would be presented before the city council for
amending Section 3-10 of land conversion rules of the CDGK.

The treasury benches, on the basis of their numerical superiority, adopted the resolution for commercialisation of the
industrial piece of land on Rashid Minhas Road with an amendment in the Section 3-10 of the land conversion rules of the
city-government - i.e. an industrial plot in the city would not be converted into a commercial or residential piece of land,
however, an industrial plot situated on a declared commercial road and in its surroundings there are present majority of
commercial and industrial plots then such a piece of land could be commercialised. However, it was added, each such case
would be presented before the city council for approval. The resolution adopted at the meeting also mentioned that the city
government would be greatly benefited by commercialisation of the industrial plot in question as it would receive millions of
rupees in the form of due land conversion fee.

The opposition benches of the council opposed the resolution stating that such land use conversion of industrial plots in the
city in serious violation of the laws concerned would result in the eventual shutting down of industrial units in the metropolis
causing serious setback to the availability of viable employment opportunities for the Karachiites.

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE: The City Council meeting also approved payment of Rs0.3 million as financial assistance from
the city government to the aggrieved heirs of opposition council member Rukhsana Faisal who lost her life in the terrorist
strike on the PPP welcome rally for Benazir Bhutto on October 18.

Certain opposition members earlier demanded that the financial assistance to the deceased family should be increased at
least to Rs0.5 million keeping in view the prevailing inflation rate and added that a road in the town of the slain council
member should be named after her in recognition of her tremendous social and political services for the downtrodden
sections of the society.
(The News-14, 30/10/2007)


                                              Another day, another fire
KARACHI: The city was again in the blaze of a fire that broke out Monday at Iqbal Market, situated at M.A. Jinnah Road.
The fire was brought under control after two hours and no loss of life was reported.
A spokesman of the City District Government Karachi‘s (CDGK) fire department Zafar Ahmed told Daily Times that the fire
had started at shop no. B-27, a shoe shop run by Javaid Iqbal at 10:40 a.m. and spread to the adjacent shop. ―The fire was
minor but was difficult to control because of thick smoke that affected four mask-less firemen. One of them had to be taken
to the hospital,‖ Ahmed said. He said eight fire tenders participated in the operation and controlled the blaze after two
hours.

Vehicular traffic remained suspended at M.A. Jinnah Road while the fire fighters worked to control the fire. The cause of the
fire has not been ascertained as yet but is believed to be an electric short circuit. However, TPO Saddar has said that the
fire was caused because of negligence and the police will register a case against those responsible.

Even though the fire caused no significant damage, what is particularly worrying is the fact that this is not the first fire to
have broken out in this building. Only this year, there have been two fires before this recent incident, one in May and
another just a month after in July.

The Karachi Electric Supply Corporation‘s (KESC) Kunda system is posing serious threats to the lives of around 2,400
people who either live in the building or come here for work, Daily Times learnt. There are 216 flats in Iqbal Centre with
eight blocks and five storeys. The aggregate number of flat residents is around 1,200 and an equal number is said to be
those who work in the shops at the ground floor.

―The KESC has installed one meter for fifty flats through the Kunda system and there are more than 350 KESC consumers
in this building that use illegal Kunda connections,‖ President of the Iqbal Centre Residents Union Sultan Mehmood Tajwani
told Daily Times. ―The KESC is demanding Rs 2,600,000 for installing meters, which is contrary to the agreement with them
because they have to replace meters in case of any natural calamity.‖

Saddar Town Fire Brigade Station Officer Imtiaz Afzal confirmed that the fire had not occurred due to a short circuit but it
was the Kunda system that was the main reason.

All shops in the building, with the exception of a well-known mithai shop, deal in petrochemical by-products such as
raczene, synthetic plastic sheets and thermopile, which are listed under highly inflammable material.

―The shopkeepers had promised to arrange fire fighting equipment within the building‘s premises, which they have failed to
fulfill as yet. They have hired or purchased 12 flats above their shops, which they have turned into godowns through
making holes in the roofs and store highly inflammable material in these flats,‖ Tajwani said. He said a huge quantity of
petrochemical by-products was stored illegally in these shops, as the CDGK had not allowed these shopkeepers to keep
this kind of material in a building where more than 2,000 people had their homes. He also said that neither the Sindh
government nor the CDGK had compensated any of the affectees of the building after the two previous fires.

―When the first fire broke out, the fire department took 33 hours to control it,‖ Joint Secretary of the Iqbal Centre Residents
Union Ghulam Mustafa recalled. ―The fire damaged pillars of three of the five storeys of the building and gas fixtures and
equipment was destroyed. The sewerage system was also ruined and the residents had to pay for the expenses of
reconstruction.‖

A resident Javed Hyder Kazmi told Daily Times that an application was submitted to the Risala Police Station on April 9 on
behalf of the residents, requesting the police to help remove inflammable material from 130 shops and godowns at the
ground floor but the police did not take it seriously. ―In August, we filed a petition at the court of district South and the
inspector had submitted a challan against only 13 shopkeepers under Section 133 of CrPC,‖ he said. The residents intend
to file a petition in the Sindh High Court (SHC) against the remaining shopkeepers.

                                                              85
Another resident Muhammad Saleem said the area police did not cooperate with the residents and the inspector received
extortion money from shopkeepers.
―It was the KESC‘s fault, which had failed to rectify the already damaged wiring in the building after the first fire incident that
occurred in May. KESC has made Kunda connections against a lump sum amount as a monthly bill,‖ Iqbal Centre
Shopkeepers Association President Ejaz Ahmed told Daily Times.

Iqbal Centre Shopkeepers Association Joint Secretary Muhammad Iqbal said the KESC did not regularize electric
connections in the building, which is why all 230 shops were getting electricity through the Kunda system. He said the
residents blackmailed the shopkeepers as they had filed a petition in court demanding Rs 100 million for damages. He
denied there was any inflammable material in any of the shops. ―The Sindh governor and other high officials visited the
building on the first fire incident but they did not fulfill their promises of the resolution of problems and damages. Also, the
fire department does not have the necessary equipment such as foam extinguishers to fight fire on rubbers and chemicals.‖

Owner of shop no. D-21 Nasir said that there were more than 100 shops that were destroyed during the last fire. ―The
owners had suffered a loss that crossed millions of rupees. This third incident was caused by a short circuit and it could hit
again if the KESC fails to take up its responsibility.‖

KESC spokesman Sultan Ahmed, when contacted, said the fire incident was not a natural disaster but it was due to the
lack of responsibility of the residents of Iqbal Centre. He refused to give any further details.
(By Faraz Khan & Irfan Aligi, DailyTimes-B1, 30/10/2007)


                                         City Council:
               Opposition benches wonder why industrial plot was made commercial
KARACHI: The treasury members of the City Council, amid strong objections from the Opposition benches, approved a
resolution to change the status of a plot via a majority vote from industrial to commercial.
The session was chaired by City Naib Nazim Nasreen Jalil and held Monday at City Council Secretariat, Old KMC Building.

Opposition members objected to the idea of the city government changing the status of industrial plots into commercial
plots, and said that it would increase unemployment and disturb the whole city‘s layout plan.

Resolution 383/2007 was moved by Syed Absarul Hassan, a member of the treasury bench, to seek approval through the
City Council and amend Section 3-10 (change of land) of the Master Planning Rules 2003.

―Section 18-4-2-10 of the Karachi Building and Town Planning Regulation 2002 was amended in 2005 to allow industrial
plots to be given commercial status. It was approved by the city government‘s master plan committee, headed by chairman
of the commercialization committee. The amendment to the Master Planning Rules 2003 would change the status of
industrial plots LA/2-A and LA/2-B, Block 21, KDA Scheme 16, Federal B. Area, Rashid Minhas Road to commercial,‖ the
resolution said.

―Industrial plots will not be changed to commercial unless an industrial plot is located on a declared commercial road or the
surroundings of the plot are being used for commercial purposes. Every single case will be presenting before the City
Council for approval,‖ the new amendment said.

Absarul Hassan, in his remarks, said that Chief Executive Muhammad Sohail Tabba had submitted an application to the
city nazim for the change of status, and mentioned that commercial activities are taking place on the right and rear sides of
his plots so these plots should be converted into commercial.

―The first application from the owner was rejected but the second application was considered. After the Master Planning
Rules 2003 is amended, the change of status of these two plots will generate millions of rupees of revenue for the city
government, and can be utilized for development projects,‖ he said.

Saifuddin, a member from the Opposition benches, said, ―Civic amenities in the rest of the city are in deplorable conditions
and new commercial activities on a 75,000-square-yard plot would increase problems and disturb the entire infrastructure
of the metropolis. The government should improve the conditions in existing residential areas and then think about creating
new schemes.‖

Saeed Ghani, leader of Awam Dost Group from the Opposition benches, said that this would cause major damage to the
city‘s overall infrastructure. ―Amendments in laws should be made for the best interests of the public, not to facilitate a
single person. This resolution shows that the owner of these plots has strong connections with the government. Billions of
rupees in profit can be made if the status of land is changed to commercial,‖ he said.

He mentioned that this plot was purchased for industrial purposes at a nominal price. ―We (the House) should avoid setting
this kind of tradition, which would reduce industrial activities in the city and increase unemployment,‖ he said.
He asked Nasreen Jalil to put this matter on hold for a while and only finalize it after thorough discussion and consensus
from all City Council members.

On the other hand, Masood Mehmood, the senior presiding officer, said the entire area where these two plots are situated
have dozens of cotton mills that are causing various diseases among the nearby residents.

―After the change of status, this part of the city will be a major commercial center following Jodia Bazaar, Saddar, and Tariq
Road, as mentioned in the Karachi Master Plan 2020,‖ he said.

―Instead of turning this into a disputed matter, we should work in the larger interest of the citizens and Karachi,‖ he said.

Rafiq Ahmed, leader of the Al-Khidmat Group, said these changes in the law would bring a boom in real estate business
and grab the attention of other industrialists as well. He also called this a ―bureaucracy trick to shift industries from within
the city limits to other parts of the country.‖

                                                               86
Sheikh Mehboob-ur-Rehman said that other industrialists from Landhi, Korangi, Site and New Karachi would abandon their
activities and sell their land as commercial for billions of rupees.

Others who spoke on the issue were Muhammad Islam, Asif Siddiq, Junaid Makati and Ramzan Awan.
Earlier, when the session started, a resolution from treasury bench member Rashid Ali Khan was presented to seek
approval for issuing Rs 300,000 as compensation for the bereaved family of Rukhsana Faisal, who died in the bomb blasts
on October 18.

Some Opposition members demanded to increase the compensation amount to Rs 500,000 but it was not further
discussed and was then approved unanimously.
Nasreen Jalil adjourned the session to Tuesday at 3:00 p.m.
(DailyTimes-B1, 30/10/2007)


                                Plots, funds, higher pays and more for SHC
KARACHI: All outstanding issues on the plans for the Sindh High Court‘s (SHC) expansion, including the construction of a
judicial complex, the enhancement of facilities and, above all, better emoluments and grades for judicial officers were
solved Tuesday when Sindh Chief Minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim paid an unscheduled visit to the SHC and had a detailed
meeting with SHC Chief Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed.

According to a ChiedfMinister House spokesman, Sindh Chief Secretary Ejaz Qureshi, Secretary Law Ghulam Nabi Shah
and Secretary to Chief Minister Muhammad Ayub Shaikh accompanied Rahim. They also attended the meeting during
which Sabihuddin gave details of the various development projects that were delayed due to bureaucratic bottle necks.

Rahim issued orders for immediate implementation. He allowed for pay scales to be upgraded, under which civil judges,
senior civil judges, additional district and sessions judges and sessions judges will move to BPS 18, 19, 20 and 21. Rahim
also ordered for funds to be placed at the disposal of the SHC.
He also ordered for the air-conditioning of court rooms to be upgraded.

Another major order passed on the spot was about handing over a milk plant‘s land to the SHC for the construction of a
judicial complex.

Solving the long standing issue of the SHC‘s expansion, Rahim ordered that the barracks adjacent to the SHC be handed
over to the SHC‘s administration for its expansion. He also assured that any other steps necessary for strengthening the
judiciary and judicial system would be taken in the future as well.

If implemented, all the decades-old problems faced by Sindh‘s judiciary are likely to be solved with credit going to Rahim‘s
government.

It is worth mentioning here that Rahim faces two contempt of court cases, one pertaining to his remarks criticizing the SHC
for taking suo-motu action for the May 12 mayhem and another pertaining to graffiti about the lawyers who were released
on personal surety. Rahim had termed the graffiti and banners against the chief justice as an expression of the people‘s
views.
(DailyTimes-B1, 31/10/2007)




NOVEMBER
                                  Adamjee House escapes fire devastation
KARACHI, Nov 1: Panic gripped hundreds of office-goers on crowded I. I. Chundrigar Road on Thursday when thick clouds
of smoke from a burining KESC transformer enveloped a major portion of the busiest commercial avenue, witnesses and
fire-brigade officials said.

They said that traffic remained suspended for over two hours on the major artery as over a dozen fire tenders and an equal
number of ambulances buzzed around the multi-storey Adamji House where a fire broke out at around 11.30am. No one
was injured in the incident.

While an army helicopter hovered over the building, the dark smoke billowing from the power sub-station on the ground
floor quickly filled the Adamjee House and caused hasty exit of over 200 people. Rescue workers managed to reach the
rooftop through a snorkel, though all the inmates in the building were evacuated safely through stairs.

Chief Fire Officer Mohammed Ehtesham Uddin told Dawn that fire tenders rushed to the spot immediately and fully
contained the fire in an hour-long operation.
―The fire had erupted due to a short circuit which was most probably caused by over-heating of the transformer,‖ he added.
―As many as nine fire tenders of the city government, its three snorkels, and one fire tender each from the Karachi Port
Trust, DHA and Navy reached the spot‖, he added.

While talking to Dawn at the site of the fire, City Naib Nazim Nasrin Jalil said that worn-out electric wires were one of the
major causes of the fire outbreak. ―It is imperative that the worn-out cables are replaced to avoid fire incidents,‖ she said
and added a resolution to this effect would be presented in the session of the city council shortly.
(Dawn-18, 02/11/2007)


                                                            87
                                                Eight fires in 10 hours
KARACHI: Eight fires were reported Thursday and, in the last week, there have been numerous more, including two major
fires at Radio Pakistan (October 28) and Iqbal Market on M. A. Jinnah Road (October 29). The reports came form the
following places:

* An empty plot behind a factory in Manzoor Colony, Korangi Industrial Area.
* Garbage caught fire at the PRC Railway warehouse at the City Railway Station.
* Some empty fruit boxes in Gulshan-e-Johar.
* Bushes at an empty plot near U. P. Morr in New Karachi, behind Haroon Shopping Plaza.
* House B-32 in Kahkashan Colony, Malir Halt.
* A grocery shop near the fish market in Kharadar Area.
* Adamjee House on I. I. Chundrigar Road.
* The bushes near the JPMC‘s main entrance.
(DailyTimes-B1, 02/11/2007)



                            UC nazim unearths land scam but CDGK behind it?
KARACHI: Land grabbers are all set to obtain an illegal lease for 3.61 acres of land in UC 6, Site Town with the
involvement of the city government‘s land department, a source in the Site Town administration told Daily Times on
Thursday.

Sources in the Site Town administrations said that this amenity plot, in Sector 5, Orangi Township Scheme 28, had been
allocated for a park but no developments were made. ―After a long time, the plot started to be used as a landfill site for the
area and the land grabbers then initiated a campaign to get it,‖ he said.

Dr Ziauddin, the nazim of UC 6, told Daily Times that plot CR No. 111 was marked for a park in the defunct Karachi
Metropolitan Corporation‘s layout plan of the area, which was issued in 1991. ―The land has been divided into 300 plots by
land grabbers on the basis of a fake layout plan bearing the date February 19, 1980, and the allotments were made to
‗their‘ favourite people,‖ he said.

He said that after public notices on this plot were published in a local paper about two months ago, he had acquired a copy
of the layout plan from the city government‘s sketch department to unearth the scam. ―During the last two months, we have
raised this issue before the governor, the home secretary, the city nazim, the naib nazim and other higher-ups in the city,
but no one is showing any interest in saving this plot from land grabbers,‖ he said.
He also mentioned that he approached Orangi Township Project Director Shaukat Malik but he was unaware of these
developments. ―A written answer from Malik will be expected within the next couple of days,‖ he said.

Dr Ziauddin said that the parks and horticulture department, through a letter received in February, confirmed that a scheme
to establish a park on this plot has been approved and the work is to start during fiscal year 2007-08.
―Instead of witnessing a new positive change in the area, we are going to have to struggle to save the site from the land
grabbers who are in association with the land department and the city government,‖ he remarked.
He also mentioned that about three months ago, Site Town Nazim Izharuddin Ahmed, along with two provincial ministers,
visited this site and promised to construct a 200-bed hospital with all the modern healthcare facilities for the area residents.

Daily Times tried to contact Izharuddin but he is out of the country.
(By Jamil Khan, DailyTimes-B1, 02/11/2007)



                                           Fire erupts in Adamjee House
The PMT sub-station of Adamjee House, located on the city‘s commercial hub, the I. I. Chundrigar Road, was completely
gutted as a fire broke out in it on Thursday. Eye witnesses said that the fire erupted after sparks in the power cables
destroyed the transformer while sources said that no human loss was reported.

The fire erupted in the PMT sub-station in the basement of the Adamjee Foundation building, that also houses MCB head
office, at about 11.43 a.m. and fire tenders from the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) reached the spot within five
minutes. The security personnel cordoned off a large portion at either side of the road as hundreds of people especially the
building staff gathered outside it. Sources from the fire brigade department told that three fire tenders and three snorkels
from the CDGK, one fire tender each from DHA, Navy and KPT participated in the rescue and fire extinguishing operation
while two helicopters from the PAF Base, Masroor, and Navy were also called for assistance and the fire was controlled
within 45 minutes. Besides, ambulances from Edhi, Chippa and KKF also reached the building but no injuries were reported
as all the staffers were evacuated safely. A few suffered minor injuries due to inhaling excessive smoke.

As soon as the fire broke out, panic spread among the employees of the Adamjee Foundation and that of the MCB. Dozens
of people lost consciousness due to excessive smoke inhalation, said eye witnesses. Since the fire erupted in the PMT
house which was situated separately in the basement of the building, it did not cause a huge loss and the fire was
contained.

―I was talking to a fellow-guard when I heard crackling,‖ said a security guard who was present in the parking yard of the
building. He adds, ―As I turned around, I saw sparks in the PMT cabin/box that in seconds turned into flames. We rushed to
the cars parked nearby and pulled them out one by one.‖ He further said that their administrator informed fire brigade
department about the incident.

‗The power supply of the building was also disrupted and it was extremely dark,‖ said a peon who was on the eighth floor
when the fire erupted. ―We didn‘t hear any blasts but there were thick clouds of smoke rising up and entered the building by
climbing through the windows,‖ he added.

                                                              88
―The elevator came to a standstill and the people had no choice but to use the stairs and used the light emitting from their
cellphone LCDs to brighten the passage ways,‖ he added. He further said that there was panic as hundreds of employees
including women used the staircase at the same time. ―There were two exits but despite that, there was human congestion
and a few people also fell unconscious during evacuation,‖ said an eye witness.

The fire chief who headed the operation said that the place was completely evacuated and the reason of fire was possibly a
short circuit or overheating of the cables. But the fire got bigger, he said, due to a store next to the PMT house where some
fuel (oil) was kept which fuelled the fire.

―The fire must have been because of the overheating of the power cables,‖ said an electrician who works in the same
building. ―These cables are old and I had asked KESC officials a hundred times to replace them with new ones but they
only fix the fault and leave,‖ he added. He further said that the same power house also supplied electricity to other buildings
which is probably why it was overloaded and burst out in flames.
(By Farooq Baloch, The News-19, 02/11/2007)



                          Experts seek law on building height, parking facilities
KARACHI, Nov 3: To contain the construction of high-rise buildings (ground-plus-four) in their initial stages and to make
parking facilities mandatory in such buildings, the KBCA experts committee has proposed a number of amendments in the
existing Karachi Building & Town Planning Regulations-2002 (KB&TPR).
The proposals, which have been ratified by the committee, have been submitted to KBCA chief controller Rauf Akhtar
Farooqui for approval.

Giving details of the proposed amendments, the KBCA chief controller told Dawn that to check the construction of
residential buildings being built on 400 or more square-yard plots and high-rise buildings (ground-plus-four) in their initial
stages, the committee had proposed that the controller of buildings (Structure), COB (Vigilance) and the TBCO concerned
should sign the plinth verification certificate of such plots/buildings approved by the structure section.

The committee has also proposed that the structural consultant, site engineer and contractor/builder shall ensure the
quality of construction as per approved specification at site and shall be fully responsible for strength, stability and
sustainability of buildings.

Referring to the proposals aimed at ensuring proper parking facilities, the chief controller said the committee had proposed
that for plots up to and above 400 square yards the height of the building was restricted to ground-plus-four floors where
parking was exempted.

Elaborating, he said that if the owners/builders of 400 square yards plots planning to raise the building up to ground-plus-
seven or -eight floors would not be allowed to do so unless they provided 50 per cent public parking facilities.
―In case the minimum three additional public parking floors are proposed in addition to the required parking as per the
regulations, an enhanced floor area ratio (FAR) up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the additional proposed parking area
shall be added to the allowable FAR having a minimum plot area of 1,000 square yards,‖ he added.
He said that it had also been proposed that the provision of ramp for upward parking in compulsory open space on a side
and the rear, in case a 40-foot wide or more space was available, must be made mandatory.

Vetting exempted
To help people build ground-plus-two buildings in coastal areas and ground-plus-four in other localities, the committee has
proposed all such buildings which fall under category III and IV shall be scrutinised only by the department and as such the
present condition of getting such buildings vetted by proof engineers will be exempted.

Referring to the proposed amendments concerning industrial buildings, the CCOB said such building with a total floor area
of more than 15 feet would be approved in two stages, instead of one as is being practised currently.

Through another proposed amendment, a builder will be required to publish a public notice in leading Urdu and English
newspapers in case of the abandonment of the project.

The committee has also proposed that a nominee (not less than the rank of a professor in the relevant field) of the NED
Engineering and Technology University‘s civil department be a member of the proof engineer registration committee; KBCA
chief control of buildings may be authorised to recall, alter, amend his order of cancellation/suspension for professional
licence, besides cooperative societies for maintenance of buildings be formed.

The experts committee, headed by the CCOB, comprises structural engineers Abdul Razzak Loya and Siddik Essa;
architects Arshad Abdullah, Shahab Ghani, Hasnain Lotia; engineers Dr Shahid Mehboob, Farooquzzaman and Sarosh
Lodhi. The KBCA officials on the committee include architect Ali Zafar Quadri, engineers Mohammad Shafiq, Atique Beg,
Agha Masood and Asma Ghayyur.

The KBCA chief controller told Dawn that the proposed amendments in the KB&TPR were likely to be approved in a week.
(By Azizullah Sharif, Dawn-17, 04/11/2007)



                                100 offices gutted in multi-storeyed building
A major fire broke out in a multi-storeyed building at Sharea Faisal on Saturday evening, as a result about 100 offices were
completely gutted. Fortunately, there was no casualty in the blaze that erupted in the 16-storeyed Caesars Tower located in
Saddar police station limits. The loss of property was estimated to be in the millions of rupees.
A massive fire-extinguishing operation caused a complete traffic jam in the area from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.

City Nazim Mustafa Kamal visited the site just after the incident, however, the area people received him with resentment.

                                                             89
According to authorities, at least five people identified as Ayaz, Ali, Asgar, Ahmed and Shan Muhammad fainted due to
suffocation. They were shifted to JPMC for treatment. A total of nine fire tenders of KMC, two snorkels and two fire tenders
of Pakistan Navy rushed the spot to put out the blaze.

The cause of fire and loss of property were yet to be ascertained, however, the owners of affected offices and shops have
demanded compensation.

As per reports, all the offices and shops were open when the fire broke out, possibly due to electric short circuit. The fire
tenders used foam to control leaping flames, while a thick layer of black smoke could be seen from distant areas of the city.
The 16-storeyed building is situated on Sharea Faisal just opposite to Aisha Bawany Academy.

According to Central Fire Station, the fire broke out in a warehouse on the 10th floor of the building at about 7pm and within
no time it spread to other offices down to sixth floor, reducing goods worth millions of rupees to ashes.

KESC and Sui Gas teams also rushed to the scene and disconnected power and gas connections.

According to the firemen, some walls inside the building had to be demolished to pave the way to affected offices.
As per reports, more than hundred people were present in the building when the fire erupted. Many of them rushed to the
ground floor to avoid the blaze and suffocation, while those trapped in the upper storeys were rescued by the KMC
snorkels.

The fire mainly engulfed rear portion of the building, while its front portion was relatively less affected.
The newly built building houses over 1,500 offices, shops and warehouses.

Fida Pervaiz, the owner of a software company Chain Zen, said that he was present in his office at sixth floor when he
heard the people shouting ―fire, fire‖. He said he immediately rushed towards the exit point and managed a safe escape.

Some owners - who were not present in the building at the time of the incident - rushed to their offices and warehouses in a
bid to save their valuables, while the rest were expecting some miracle to happen, however, the fire turned their goods into
ashes causing huge financial loss.

The police and law-enforcement agencies personnel cordoned off the area where Edhi ambulances remained present.
The area police have started preliminary investigations by recording the statements of affected office owners as well as the
Chowkidar of the building.
(The News, 04/11/2007)



                             ‘Civilian areas in cantonments to be marked soon’
KARACHI, Nov 4: City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal has said that the new master plan with its main concept of unity of
command for provision of municipal services shall be binding on all stakeholders in the metropolis.
Accompanied by Naib Nazim Nasreen Jalil, the city nazim stated this while addressing a press conference at a local hotel
on Saturday.

When he was asked to comment on the proclamation of emergency by General Pervez Musharraf in the country, he did not
show any sign of anxiety and said, ―I will quit if the government asks me to do so. Till then I will continue my work.‖

He said the Supreme Court of Pakistan through its order on Oct 10 ruled that the Karachi Strategic Development Plan
2020, which was prepared by the city government, would be binding on all stakeholders or civic agencies functioning in the
city. A summary in this regard had been sent to the chief secretary who would soon issue a notification constituting a board
of governors, he said, adding that he would head the board which would manage the municipal services in the city. All
heads of different civic agencies would be its members.

Mr Kamal said that acting upon the SC‘s directives, civilian areas would be excluded from the purview of cantonment
boards through a notification of the Ministry of Defence. A survey to identify such localities would be conducted by a
committee comprising director military lands and cantonment boards in Karachi, EDO Revenue, EDO Master Plan and
EDO works and services. The notification in this regard would soon be issued.
(Dawn-14, 05/11/2007)



                                       17,000 families to get land ownership
QUETTA, Nov 6: Land ownership rights will be given to over 17,000 families living in slum areas on about 2,200 acres of
state land in 13 districts of Balochistan.

Chief Jam Mir Mohammad Yousuf announced the decision after a meeting here on Tuesday.
He said the kachi abadis were being regularised in Quetta, Nushki, Sibi, Loralai, Zhob, Lasbela, Gwadar, Killa Abdullah,
Ziarat, Bolan, Khuzdar, Mastung and Dera Bugti districts.

He refuted an impression that the government had made the announcement for gaining benefit in the coming elections. The
government had formulated the policy four years ago and it had been working on it, he said.

He said all the settlements on the state land would be regularised on the basis of the record of the provincial revenue
department and local governments. The chief minister said the government had initiated the process by asking the revenue
department to take necessary measures and the revenue records of 12 of the province‘s 30 districts had been received.
He said that thousands of more people would be given ownership rights after the records of the remaining districts were
received.
(By Saleem Shahid, Dawn-3, 07/11/2007)

                                                                90
                                            Illegal possession of house
An elderly couple has accused an international garments and textile company – especially its executives based in Karachi
– for illegally possessing their property. The couple pointed fingers at the company and also said that they had seriously
breached the terms of the agreement which was signed with mutual understanding. Now, they refused to vacate the place
as well.

The septuagenarian couple, residents of Defence, told The News that the agreement expired on July 31, 2007, and since
then they had been asking their tenants to pay all the dues as well as hand over the property to them.
―However, those people have no such intention and now they have also started to threaten us,‖ Mumtaz Ahmed Qureshi,
managing director (retired), Airport Development Agencies said.

The founders of Maxco (Private) Limited – an Italian company — Adriano and Massimo Pedio, the real brother and one of
their local campaigners, Zubair, are involved in this scam. Maxo Pvt. Ltd is invoking local tenancy statutes designed to
protect impoverished Pakistanis to bypass its clear, unambiguous and written commitment to either reach a negotiated rent
settlement at the expiry of the lease or to vacate the property.

Qureshi further said that although they were renting out the house for so many years, it was the first time that they had had
such problems with their tenant. He also said that it was the second term of agreement with the party and during their first
period of agreement, they did not create any problems for them. This is why they decided to renew the contract with them.
He added that the double-story bungalow containing two units of a ground floor and first floor situated on plot number 29,
Street-A, Phase 5, DHA, was owned by Shameem Qureshi, wife of Mumtaz Qureshi, and she had agreed to rent out both
portions for one year, which expired on July 31, 2006. During the said period Rs65,000 was decided to be the monthly rent.

Later, in the next agreement, the rent increased by 10 per cent of the last contract which expired on July 31, 2007. He
added that after the expiry of that period, a new agreement was due with the mutual consent of both the parties. However,
the tenants were forced to accept their offer and on their refusal, the tenants occupied the property and it was still in their
custody, he said.

According to the agreement, the possession of the house was subject to being vacated at any time 60 days prior to the
notice to the landlady. If she required the same, she would give the same notice period to the party. This was decided in
case there was no renewal, Mumtaz further said.

Now, Mumtaz added, that the tenants were claiming they had invested Rs0.1 million in the house and were claiming the
amount used for making a swimming pool which was illogical because no one could spend that amount of money when the
property did not belong to them.

Rather than following the norms and values of the society and the law of the state, they were threatening the family. Thus,
they had started a campaign against the company to build pressure on unlawful occupiers and that they were using the
internet as a medium to inform people and their business partners about the crime, he further said.
He informed that by using the internet, they had started to circulate information about the illegal occupation by the
international company, among the stakeholders of the company and also to banks, financial houses and its business
associates in Pakistan and abroad, so as to be able to morally pressurise them and force them to vacate the premises.
Zubair and the Italian brother were not available to The News for their comments on the issue.
(By M. Zeeshan Azmat, The News-19, 07/11/2007)



                                                    Heritage reports
APROPOS of a number of articles in your newspaper within a span of a few days, I, a heritage-conscious citizen, on my
own conducted some research on the reported ongoing work at the old campus of the NED University of Engineering and
Technology.

The reports prepared by Mr Bhagwandas appear inaccurate. Here are some facts:

a. The contributions of the NED Architecture and Planning Department are well-known. It has obtained an important
milestone by getting Shikarpur Heritage City declared as an important site by the World Monument Fund.
It works in Karachi‘s urban planning, infrastructure and built environment are appreciated locally and abroad. It has
produced worthwhile research publications, including the only peer reviewed journal of architecture in Pakistan.
In the domains of heritage, it has been declared the brand office of Unesco (University and Heritage Programme).
It is also the national secretariat of the International Council of Monuments and Sites.

b. The NED Architecture Department has undertaken many monitoring and instruction exercises from the standpoint of
professional validity and public interest.
The Karachi Elevated Expressway, Lyari Expressway, Karachi Development Plan 2030, Resettlement Schemes and many
other schemes were coordinated.

c. I have had the privilege to visit many Middle Eastern, South Asian and African countries during the last 30 years of my
service. Wherever I happened to meet Pakistani engineers, the majority were always NEDians.
Even to this day the institution stands heads above institutions of such type in our country.

Its graduates are still readily selected for assignments, both at home and abroad. Abul Kalam, the present VC, called back
from retirement during the tenure of Kamal Azfar, as governor Sindh, is still continuing his good work in continuation of his
earlier assignment with the Pakistan Railways.

As regards the NOC of the KBCA, it was the understanding given to the technical adviser, Ms Aneela, who is a member of
that committee, that the work at the relevant site should proceed on and the NOC was under process and would be issued
in due course.


                                                             91
On this understanding the work was undertaken under the supervision of the Heritage technical supervisor, and
subsequently an inspection was undertaken by the Sindh chief secretary, who highly appreciated the work being done
there.

ALI MUHAMMAD SIDDIQI, Karachi
(Dawn-6, 08/11/2007)



                          Hotel ignores KBCA over ‘unauthorised’ construction
KARACHI, Nov 7: A five-star hotel has become mired in controversy over the construction of a high-rise tower on its
premises, which the city building control authority has termed an illegal structure that must be demolished or removed in
any other way.

According to Dawn‘s sources, the Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) has at least twice directed the Pearl
Continental Hotel to halt the illegal construction under threat of forcible demolition, yet the unauthorised work continues.

One of the major top-end hotel chains in the country, the hotel reportedly intends to construct a 40-storey tower next to its
existing building, on a ground that once sported a swimming pool. The hotel concerned submitted a proposal in this regard
to the KBCA, which was approved with certain conditions. Sources told Dawn that the approval was now no longer valid
since the conditions imposed by the KBCA were not fulfilled within the prescribed period of 60 days, thus rendering the
construction illegal.

Information received by this newspaper details the conditions set by the KBCA, including the demand that the owner or a
licensed architect submit the plan consisting of a 3-level basement, plus ground floor, plus forty floors forwarded by the land
owner within 60 days. Secondly, the approved completion plan of the existing building, verifying the existing area as shown
in the proposed hotel tower plan, was to be submitted within 60 days.

Directives ignored
The total area of the plot (11 CL 11, Civil Lines Quarters) on which the hotel stands and the tower is to be constructed is
23,294 square yards or 209,286 square feet. The allowable plot to covered area ratio is 1:3, which means that a total of
over 627,858 square feet can be constructed. The conditional Town Planning NOC was granted in Oct 2006 and the
architectural concept plan was approved in Nov 2006.

However, the hotel is yet to submit to the KBCA the detailed architectural plans and the other data required for review, after
which the building control authority would decide whether or not to grant permission for the construction.

Rather than submitting the plans with the KBCA and waiting until these were approved and the relevant permissions / NOC
granted, the hotel has already started construction work.

In the first letter issued to M/s Pearl Continental Hotels (Pvt) Ltd, the KBCA mentioned at least three violations:
―construction without approved plan‖, ―construction without the supervision of professionals‖ and that an ―RCC slab has
been cast over the swimming pool without approval of the KBCA‖.

The letter directed the hotel group to ―stop further potentially dangerous and unauthorised construction work on the said
plot forthwith; vacate the said unauthorised structure within three days from the receipt hereof, failing which you shall be
summarily evicted from there; remove the unauthorised structure within three days from the receipt hereof, failing which the
same shall be removed/sealed by the authority at your expense under Section 7(a) of the Sindh Building Control Ordinance
1979-82; and explain immediately why you should not be prosecuted for violation of the SBCO 79-82 and the regulations
framed there under.‖

Sources informed Dawn that when Pearl Continental Hotel did not respond to the KBCA directive, the authority sent
another directive citing the same illegal work but bringing the time limit for the removal of the illegal construction down to 24
hours from the three days stipulated earlier.

Reportedly, the second directive also failed to elicit a response from the hotel owners/administration.

‘Nobody above the law’
KBCA building controller Agha Maqsood Abbas told Dawn that the hotel had illegally started the construction since it had
not yet submitted the required detailed plans. ―Two notices have been served to halt and remove the unauthorised
construction, otherwise it would be demolished by the authority‘s squad, but the hotel does not respond,‖ he stated. Mr
Abbas added that the extreme step of demolition had not yet been taken since the violator was a prestigious hotel and such
a move may give foreign guests the wrong impression about Pakistan. He conceded that the owner of the hotel was an
influential person with the right contacts but maintained that nobody was above the law and he would soon carry out the
demolition if the illegal construction was not stopped.

Meanwhile, the general manager of Pearl Continental Hotel, Junaid Ashraf, said that ―we are a law-abiding organisation
and have obtained all the relevant permissions. We are not violating any law.‖ Claiming that the KBCA had not issued any
notices regarding the halt of construction, Mr Ashraf said that ―we have, in fact, closed down the swimming pool but it is our
pool and we can do whatever we want with it. We don‘t need anybody‘s permission to close the swimming pool. If the
KBCA says it has issued any notices to us, then it is not telling the truth. The KBCA would not allow anybody to construct
even an illegal khokha [kiosk]; how can we construct a 40-floor high-rise building without permission?‖ asked Mr Ashraf,
adding that ―whenever we start a construction, we get whatever permissions were required.‖
(By Bhagwandas, Dawn-17, 08/11/2007)




                                                              92
                           KBCA exempts builders from NOCs for high-rise plans
KARACHI, Nov 7: Yielding to pressure exerted by the Association of Builders and Developers, the Karachi Building and
Control Authority has exempted the builders from submitting the no-objection certificates (NOCs) of utility organisations for
getting the plans of their high-rise building projects approved.

Besides, the three categories of buildings for which the restriction of height has been waived include commercial, amenity
and flat sites. It means that builders of the buildings falling under this category and being built in the city, except for Clifton‘s
(Khekashan Scheme-5) blocks 1, 2, 3 and 4, may now raise as many floors as they want provided the permissible floor
area ratio (FAR) of 1:5 is maintained, KBCA chief controller Rauf Akhtar Farooqui told Dawn.
However, such a facility has not been allowed to the owners of residential plots as the floors of their buildings have been
restricted to a maximum of ground-plus-four floors, he added.

Besides, the KBCA has increased the floor area ratio (FAR) to 1:9 of the buildings coming up on either side of Clifton‘s
Marine Promenade, and as such a high-rise building in that locality may now have any number of floors if the open spaces
are directly proportional to the height -- ‗the more open space, the larger the height‘.
However, it was mandatory for the builders/owners of all the high-rise buildings to be built in Clifton‘s blocks 1, 2, 3 and 4
facing the Marine Promenade to have their own desalination plants, produce their own electricity and sewage treatment
plants, the CCOB added.

Asked how would he define the two different floor area ratios – 1:5 and 1:9 – allowed for high-rise buildings of the city and
Clifton‘s blocks 1, 2, 3 and 4, respectively, Mr Farooqui said that ―if the plot size is 100 square yards than in the above
cases the allowable covered area, called FAR, will be 500 square yards and 900 square yards, respectively. FAR may go
up to any number of floors leaving open spaces as desired/required by the architect keeping in view other parameters of
the Karachi Building and Town Planning Regulations,‖ he elaborated.
About the project fast coming up at the site of Clifton‘s abandoned Casino, the KBCA chief controller said the building plan
of a commercial project had been approved, allowing its builder/owner to raise the project up to 32 floors while building
plans of some other projects of the area are under process.

The 32-floor commercial project is being built on a plot measuring 37,000 square yards where a casino building was built in
the mid-70s but later the plot was auctioned to some private entrepreneurs – Dolman and partners -- who are now building
a most-modern commercial centre there.

The concerned citizens apprehend that such a move on the part of the KBCA will put further burden on the city‘s old
pipelines, non-dependable sewerage system and vulnerable electricity network.
When the same question was put to the KBCA chief controller, he said whenever this issue was raised with ABAD, they
argued that as they paid a heavy amount as development charges, it was mandatory upon the utility services to provide all
such basic necessities of life to their projects.

At present, the 26-storey MCB head-office on I. I. Chundrigar Road is the tallest building in the city but the Karachi
Financial Tower building being raised on the same busy and congested artery will become the tallest building on its
completion with 37 floors as its construction firm, on the recommendation of the Sindh chief minister, has been allowed the
floor area ratio of 1:12 as against the 1:6 in violation of the rules.
(By Azizullah Sharif, Dawn-19, 08/11/2007)



                                             Builders escape KBCA action
KARACHI, Nov 9: The much-trumpeted Amnesty Ordinance 2004, which allowed the regularisation of illegally constructed
structures, has failed to benefit the owners and occupants of an estimated 10,000 apartment buildings in the city since their
builders did not apply for regularisation in the nearly two-year long period granted.
Well-placed sources in the Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) told Dawn that the period for applying for
regularisation expired in September last year, before which a mere two per cent of the builders and owners of illegally
constructed apartment buildings or bungalows benefited under the ordinance.

Worst-affected by the builders‘ inaction are the individual flat owners, most of them from low- and middle-income groups.
Without their buildings‘ regularisation, they cannot have their flats sub-leased in their favour or transferred since completion
certificates cannot be issued.

Such allotees have already paid heavy amounts in order to get possession of their apartments. Meanwhile, the builders of a
large number of apartment complexes – having first constructed the buildings illegally – did not apply for regularisation and
yet went unpunished. The irony is that under a clause of the Amnesty Ordinance, such builders were to be treated as
absconders. Sources say, however, that the KBCA neither declared any builders absconders, nor withheld the no-objection
certificates (NOCs) for new projects announced by the same builders during the amnesty period.

‘Challans not deposited’
The KBCA chief controller, Rauf Akhtar Farooqui, confirmed that there are between 8,000 and 10,000 un-regularised
buildings in the city that were either illegally constructed or built on disputed land sold by earlier governments to influential
builders at throwaway prices. Pointing out that these buildings cannot now be regularised since the amnesty period has
lapsed, he said that a total of 15,000 cases were received by the KBCA during the period stipulated by the ordinance. Of
these, 5,000 cases have been cleared generating Rs1 billion in penalties. In the remaining cases, the builders/owners did
not pursue their applications despite having challans detailing the penalty amount.

―In most cases, the builders and owners who had applied for the regularisation of their illegally-constructed buildings got the
challans for the penalty amount prepared from the KBCA but did not deposit them‖ he told Dawn. ―Moreover, these
penalties were hardly 25 per cent of the sum usually levied on illegally-constructed buildings. The only ones who took
advantage of the ordinance were either those builders who had on-going cases in court, or who were seeking loans from
various financial institutions.‖
(By Azizullah Sharif, Dawn-15, 10/11/2007)

                                                                93
                                   SBP told to stop work in heritage building
KARACHI, Nov 9: The Sindh government has once again directed the State Bank of Pakistan not to carry out any work in
its old State Bank of India building, which is protected under the Sindh Cultural Heritage Protection Act, before getting the
mandatory permissions.

Sources said the latest order was issued by the Karachi Building Control Authority -- which had earlier directed the SBP to
stop work it was carrying out without the mandatory NOC and permissions from the relevant government departments --
after the bank responded to the KBCA‘s earlier directive and said it had applied for the mandatory NOC/permissions.
The sources said nobody, including the owner, could carry out any kind of repairs, restoration, addition, alteration in a
building protected under the act, which prescribes long prison terms and heavy fines for violators.

The NOC by the Advisory Committee on Cultural Affairs, headed by the provincial chief secretary, is required before
carrying out any work in a protected building. Besides, an approval by the KBCA is also required before carrying out any
alteration and addition in any building in the city.
The sources said though the SBP did not have either of the mandatory NOC and permission, it was implementing its
project through its newly-appointed director Dr Asma Ibrahim under the overall guidance of the bank governor, Dr
Shamshad Akhtar, to establish a monetary museum in the imposing sandstone building situated next to the SBP head
office on I. I. Chundrigar Road.

The sources said that the project implementers had not bothered to get the mandatory NOC/permission owing to the
friendship between them and some of the advisory committee members. The bank also wrote a letter, reportedly a back-
dated one, to the advisory committee seeking permission only after a report appeared in the media.
The sources said the KBCA had earlier directed the SBP not to carry out its project until it obtained the mandatory NOC
and permission from the relevant government organizations.

Responding to the KBCA directive, the SBP in its letter said the bank was aware of its responsibility of keeping the
historical building in good and original condition and as such no addition/alteration work was under planning.
The bank desired to set up a monetary museum in its old building, therefore, wanted to carry out conservation measures
from inside the building to restore it to its original condition, and the bank had applied to the advisory committee for the
permission, the SBP letter said.

The KBCA in its latest communication to the SBP says: ―…. You are advised not to carry out any addition/alteration and
renovation work till grant of permission/NOC from the Culture Department and also by this authority.‖

Outhouse
The sources said that the SBP had already changed the windows of one of the outhouses of the old SBI building, which
originally had wooden frames, and replaced them with modern-looking aluminium ones, besides carrying out some addition
in the outhouse – which now serves as the security officials‘ room near the main entrance of the old SBI building. The
outhouse has also been painted with colour, though conservationists stress that sandstones buildings are not painted as it
ruins the natural beauty of sandstone.

The sources urged the authorities to institute a high-level inquiry to find out why it had been done, and direct the bank to
restore the old heritage structure to its original condition.

The old State Bank of India operated in this sandstone building even after partition, but later when the relations between
India and Pakistan became strained the Indian bank pulled down its shutters and the imposing sandstone building after
remaining closed for a long period was handed over to the State Bank of Pakistan by the government of Pakistan.

The SBP used the building for its various departments, including the foreign exchange control department. Later the bank‘s
library was shifted from the SBP head office, located next door, to this old building and now the SBP is in the process of
establishing a monetary museum in the building.
(By Bhagwandas, Dawn-17, 10/11/2007)



                               New US consulate location poses serious risks
KARACHI, Nov 10: A new hazard to the safety and security of citizens is coming up fast at the place where Maulvi
Tameezuddin Khan Road (formerly Queen‘s Road) and the Mai Kolachi Bypass meet: at this spot is being built the new
complex housing the consulate general of the United States of America.

Dawn has learned from reliable sources that in addition to posing a security risk to residents of the area, the diplomatic
mission of a country that otherwise professes to be a strict follower of the rule of law is also violating certain building codes.

The diplomatic mission is being relocated from its current premises on Abdullah Haroon Road, where the high level of
security demanded by it has caused great traffic disturbance since the road constitutes one of the major traffic arteries
connecting the downtown with the upmarket localities of DHA, Clifton and others.

Sources maintain that the new location will endanger the security of citizens living at the nearby low-income locality of
Sultanabad and the residences of the naval officials. An earlier proposal to shift the consulate to a seven-acre amenity plot
reserved for the Hippodrome in Clifton was scuppered by protesting residents of the locality who feared for their security.
The people living around the new location, however, are unlikely to be able to mount much opposition since they have less
knowledge of their rights and their protests are likely to go unheard, sources pointed out. They added that with the new
location, the movement of workers and traffic to and from the port, and that of public transport vehicles currently plying
these busy roads, would also be affected just as certain vehicles were banned from Abdullah Haroon Road because of the
consulate‘s security concerns.

Dawn was informed that in fact, the threat to the consulate may even increase at the new location since M.T. Khan Road
and the Mai Kolachi Bypass are used by all kinds of vehicles, including trailers carrying 40-foot containers that could inflict

                                                               94
huge amounts of damage if used for terrorist purposes. By contrast, Abdullah Haroon Road is routinely used only by small
vehicles with a limited capacity to carry explosive loads.

The diplomatic mission is being constructed on a plot measuring over 20 acres obtained under lease from the Karachi Port
Trust for over a billion and a half rupees, said sources. The government exempted the consulate from the registration fee,
thus robbing the public exchequer of millions of rupees. Meanwhile, the earlier tenant of the spot, a federal government
research organisation that had been operating from the plot for over five decades, was evicted and had to relocate itself to
relatively small premises in a high-rise building.

Following the pattern of the British deputy high commission complex in Clifton, the United States consul-general plans to
construct offices as well as staff residences in the new complex to avoid its staff being exposed while commuting to and
from their workplace.

Construction irregularities
The United States consul-general failed to apply for certain permissions and NOCs in connection with the new complex.
These would easily have been granted had the request been made by the diplomatic mission, but in their absence, the
consulate is guilty of building irregularities and of breaking the rules, sources informed Dawn.

Reportedly, the USCG submitted plans for the boundary wall with the Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) and these
plans were approved. However, the law required the mission to inform and seek KBCA permission before starting
construction, which it failed to do, thus rendering the construction work under way unauthorised and illegal.

Furthermore, the complex‘s fortification walls are being constructed of steel blocks as opposed to the usual cement and
concrete. While this may deter suicide bombers from targeting the compound as they have done in the past, permission
from the KBCA should have been sought, Dawn has learnt. Sources within the KBCA also pointed out that while the height
of boundary walls is normally kept between six and eight feet, the request for an increase could have been made to and
granted by the KBCA in view of safety concerns. The steel walls currently being constructed are well over 10 feet high but
no specific permission was sought by the USCG.

Additionally, the law requires that when the construction reaches plinth level, the constructor must inform the KBCA which
would then conduct a survey, examine the construction and ensure that the approved plan is being followed.
After this, the KBCA issues a certificate giving the construction a go-ahead. Introduced to ensure that notorious builders did
not deviate from approved plans or encroach on land that did not belong to them, this plinth-level certificate is mandatory.

However, sources pointed out that since the USCG had not even informed the KBCA about its intention to initiate
construction, the question of getting the plinth-level certificate did not arise and it had not been issued by the KBCA.
An undertaking submitted with the KBCA by a USCG official states that he is the owner of the plot which is incorrect since
in actual fact, the over 80,000 square yards of land were obtained on lease.

Repeated attempts made by Dawn to elicit an official statement on the issue from KBCA officials met with failure.
Meanwhile, Mushtaq Rajpar of the USCG promised a response from the diplomatic mission by Friday afternoon, but this
was not received until the time these pages went to press.
(By Bhagwandas, Dawn-17, 11/11/2007)



                             NGO told to pay Rs50,000 for filing frivolous plea
KARACHI, Nov 13: The Sindh High Court on Tuesday directed a non-governmental organisation (NGO) to pay Rs50,000
as costs for filing a frivolous petition.
The amount would be deposited with the nazir within 15 days and would be utilised for lawyers‘ library in the court, the
order passed by a division bench comprising Justices Munib Ahmed Khan and Abdur Rehman Farooq Pirzada said. The
bench observed that the petitioner NGO, Citizens Welfare Society, moved a petition without ascertaining the factual
position and made baseless averments as borne out by the nazir‘s inspection report.

There was no substance in the allegations and the NGO wasted the court‘s time by filing a frivolous petition and then
insisting on the veracity of averments. It contested an authentic report submitted by the respondent Karachi Building
Control Authority (KBCA) and termed it bogus, necessitating inspection of the site by the SHC nazir, the bench further
remarked while dismissing the petition with costs.

The Citizens Welfare Society had moved a petition alleging that illegal structure was being raised on plot number 266,
Artillery Maidan, Saddar, adjacent to Co-operative Market. Among other violations, the petitioner alleged that the structure
had covered the compulsory open space and encroached upon the adjoining footpath. The KBCA staff was conniving with
the builder/owner and the authority was taking no action. The court issued notice to the KBCA and directed it to submit
para-wise comments.

The KBCA said in its report that the building on the 17,083-square-feet plot, known as Fort Mansion, was constructed in
1936. The residential-commercial site previously housed a sweetmeat shop, which was later converted into a mobile phone
and electronic goods market. The owner applied for additions and alterations only in a part of the old building measuring
543 square feet. The proposed changes were approved by the KBCA and a completion plan was issued in October 2004.
The owner submitted another alteration/addition plan for another portion of the building measuring 2,851 square feet, which
was approved by the KBCA in January 2005.

After completion of the alteration/addition work, the KBCA said in its rejoinder, the owner submitted a completion and
regularisation plan with new size of shops to meet the requirements of a mobile phone and electronic goods market. There
was no change of land use and the KBCA issued the completion certificate in accordance with the rules and the approved
design for alterations. The petition had been filed only to harass the KBCA and its officials, the rejoinder said.
The petitioner disputed the factual position submitted by the KBCA and the court decided that an inspection would be
carried out by the nazir to ascertain the truth of the matter. It was decided that if the allegations were found to be without
substance as stated by the KBCA, ‗heavy costs‘ would be imposed on the petitioner.

                                                             95
An inspection was finally carried out on Nov 3 and the nazir confirmed the KBCA statement. The inspection report was
placed before court as the petition came up for hearing on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Sindh High Court directed the establishment division to keep a post in Grade-19 vacant pending hearing of
a petition by a Grade-18 police officer.

Muzaffar Ali Shah, senior superintendent of police, submitted through Advocate Mansoorul Haq Solangi that he was duly
qualified for promotion to Grade-19 but was being ignored by the central selection board.
Officers junior to him were being considered for promotion while his case was not due for consideration in the forthcoming
meeting of the board.
(Dawn-19, 14/11/2007)



                                  Swat militants occupy another district town
PESHAWAR, Nov 13: Militants have taken over the district headquarters of Shangla in Malakand Division as authorities
declared a night-to-noon curfew in Swat district‘s headquarters of Mingora.
A credible source confirmed to Dawn that militants had taken over Alpuri, headquarters of Shangla district and home to
federal Minister for Political Affairs Amir Muqam.

The source said that militants took over the offices of the district police officer, district coordination officer, district courts
and police lines on Tuesday night.
It is surprising that the authorities did not take any pre-emptive measures to protect Alpuri despite reports that militants had
planned to take over Shangla that is adjacent to Swat, most parts of which they already control.

NWFP Home Secretary and military spokesman were not available for comment on the rather disturbing new development
in northern NWFP.

A security official said that military authorities had clamped a 9 pm to 12 noon curfew in Mingora City to avert any untoward
incident. The move will affect businesses, schools and government and private offices.

Authorities have also imposed curfew from midnight to 9 am in Malakand Agency, a Provincially Administered Tribal Area
(Pata) adjoining Swat as a precautionary measure to safeguard troop movement in the region.
(Dawn-1, 14/11/2007)



                                     Karachi’s firemen — the unsung heroes
Not all of Karachi‘s firemen have died due to smoke or blazes. Tragically many died due to firing incidents and some due to
other bizarre reasons, like one case where a fireman was crushed by his own fire engine.
The fire fighters of Karachi have been going beyond the call of duty when it comes to protecting citizens against the fires in
the city. Unsung and unheralded, these brave men fight against unfavourable circumstances so that others may live. A total
of 21 firemen and officers of the fire department have sacrificed their lives so far since 1958, fighting fires and rescuing
people in the city. Many firemen and officers have been rendered handicapped while saving citizens during the same
period. The city, however, is yet to appreciate their contribution and sacrifices.

The first accidental death of a fireman in post-independence Karachi was recorded in 1958 when a huge fire broke out in a
fireworks factory at Bohri Bazaar. Khannan Khan, the unfortunate fireman, succumbed to burn wounds while extinguishing
the fire in the cited incident.

Fireman, Qamaruddin, lost his life while attempting to save the life of a child who was trapped in a burning building at
Khajoor Bazaar in 1965. Tragically, neither he nor the child was saved in the incident. That is because despite the valiant
effort of Qamaruddin, the structure of the building collapsed on the two as they made their way out. Alam Khan, another
fireman, died of suffocation while he was striving to rescue some labourers who were trapped in an oil tanker, which caught
fire in 1971. Again, this was another example of selfless duty.

Some firemen did not lose their lives in fire incidents. In 1985, fireman Abdul Ghaffar Khan drowned while searching for the
body of a child in a lake near DHA.

Sub Fire Officer, Muhammad Shafiq, was shot dead in 1992 when some miscreants opened fire while he was busy with his
colleagues trying to extinguish fire in a shop near Khokhrapar Post Office. Waseem Shaikh, fireman, died from the
inhalation of toxic chemicals in 1992 while controlling a fire, which broke out at a chemical godown near Ran Pathani
Railway Station, situated outside the city, limits.

There were other tragedies that had to do with the lack of professional training of the fire fighters. Sub Fire Officer Abdul
Majeed lost his life after being crushed under the front wheel of a fire tender. The fire engine had rushed to Shershah to
extinguish the fire in 1992. In 1995, fireman Gulam Rasool was busy in extinguishing the fire of a truck, which was set
ablaze by miscreants at Korangi 5-1/2 when he received bullet wounds in a cross fire between the miscreants and the
police. He was taken to the hospital but succumbed to his injuries during the operation.

Sub Fire Officer, Muhammad Siddique in 1997 was shot dead by unknown assailants when he was on duty at the Central
Fire Station, Baba-e-Urdu Road. Shair Ahmad, Aqeel Ahmad Zubair Ahmad, all firemen, also lost their lives in the Site fire
tragedy in 2006. Zafar Akhtar, Station officer lost his life during a fire incident at a chemical warehouse in the Site area on
September 21, 2006.

This year, so far, eight firemen and fire officers have sacrificed their lives for the safety of the citizens. During the fire
tragedy on January 15, 2007 at the Site area, fire officers, Javed Ahmed, Yasir Iqbal and Imtiaz-ul-Haq succumbed to burn
wounds. However, firemen, Farid Khan, Muhammad Naeem, Ahmed Noor and Naseer Ahmed lost their lives. Another
fireman lost his life during a rescue operation at Pakistan Chowk in June, 2007.
                                                               96
Many of these deaths could have been avoided but the lack of required professional training and deficiency of safety
measures for firemen caused many casualties in the city. Former chief officer, Zamir Ahmed Siddiqui is not satisfied with
the current arrangements regarding fire fighting. ―Arrangements, in any case, are below the requirement which needs to be
enhanced,‖ he said. He said that there is no specific training school in Pakistan for firemen and also, there was no fire Act
in the country. Siddiqui said that due to the absence of direct legislation regarding fire fighting, the provision of Personal
Protective Equipments (PPE) could not be made mandatory for firemen. The PPE for firemen means a dress, which
includes a three-layer trouser and coat, gloves helmet, long shoes etc. Generally a complete dress for a fireman would cost
Rs0.1 million. ―Repeated fire accidents have demoralised the workforce of fire departments,‖ he added.

Furthermore, there are limited incentives for the firemen. The basic pay scale of a fire fighter is that of grade five and his
salary would reach to Rs8,000 in a month after claiming the compulsory overtime of four hours, he explained. ―However, in
case of the death of a fireman, his son is offered a job in the same department if he desires so,‖ said Siddiqui.

Vice President of Fire Protection Association of Pakistan (FPAP), Saeed Jadoon said there is no concept of modern fire
fighting in Pakistan and the syllabus of the Second World War is being taught to the firemen. ―Firemen in Pakistan do not
even have specific insurance, which is being provided to fire fighters in developed countries,‖ he elaborated. Moreover, in
2006, 150 fire dresses were donated to Pakistan by England out of which 50 were given to the City District Government
Karachi and 100 were distributed amongst other fire departments of the country. ―These outfits are generally used as
ceremonial dresses and firemen are rarely seen taking part in rescue operations with these dresses,‖ he said.
(By Qadeer Tanoli, The News-20, 14/11/2007)



                                            The legacy of Radio Pakistan
―I don‘t have the courage to visit the burnt studios. It reminds me of the friends and colleagues who passed away and the
memorable work we had done. It is my biggest loss,‖ says Mehmood Ali.
Now a TV artist, Mehmood began his career from Radio Pakistan in 1948 – a time when the studios were not even properly
made. ―Earlier, the broadcasting set-up was established at the Naval Headquarters near the Fleet Club and was named
Dilawar Studios. There were just two studios and a room for the station director. The rest of the people worked outside in a
tent. Later, it was shifted to the broadcasting building at Bundar Road. This is now the Radio Pakistan groomed,‖ he recalls.

His first play was in Studio 9, which was meant for dramas. ―It was a radio feature titled Utra Teray Kinaray, Jab Khula
Humara Dar, which was a historical journey of the subcontinent from Muhammad Bin Qasim to the creation of Pakistan and
was broadcast on August 14, 1948,‖ he said.

From music to news to children‘s plays and dramas, Radio Pakistan was responsible for entertaining the masses for a long
period of time. The tragic fire outbreak at the Radio Pakistan building on October 28 has left many artists saddened. Out of
the 14 studios, 13 have been completely burnt. The only one left is studio one, which was the most important as the
bulletins of the 1965 war were broadcast from there. These studios have produced inspiring celebrities. There is no big
name from TV and film that has not gone through the training of Radio Pakistan.

Ather Shah Khan Jedi is a big name when it comes to comedy writing. Jedi joined Radio Pakistan as a scriptwriter starting
from children‘s plays and moving onto adult dramas. He credits studio nine for teaching him the art of writing and taking him
to where he is today. ―After my matriculation I joined the radio. Sitting in the canteen, I used to write scripts for hours. From
studio one to 14, I have written for everybody. My famous programme was Dhamak, which was also a comedy programme,
and was a big hit for studio nine. My solo programme, Rang he Rang, Jedi ke Sang, was also light comedy that ran for 19-
and-a-half years,‖ he says.

Shamim Ejaz started her career from Radio Pakistan in 1958 as an Urdu newscaster. Earlier, she was working as an
airhostess. Narrating her favourite memory of studio five, which was a VIP studio, Shamim said that she was called in an
emergency and was rushed to the studios to read the news on air. ―My voice was shaking when I went on air. So much so
that the Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri said in India ‗Lahore was on the verge of war and the newscaster was
crying‘,‖ she says. She gained massive popularity owing to her radio programme titled Paasbaan for the armed forces that
gained her instant popularity, especially among the armed forces. ‗Ae mard-e-mujahid jaag zara ab waqt-e-shahadat hai
aya‘ was the signature tune of the show that was sung by Mehdi Hassan.

Qari Waheed Zafar, a renowned naat khawan of ‗Allah Hoo‘ fame also recorded a number of naats for Radio Pakistan.
Before his journey to TV, his radio journey started through a programme called ‗Sar Chashma-e-Hidayat‘ where he recited
the Quran. ―Though I had recorded my famous naat ‗Allah hoo‘ first time for TV, it didn‘t give me as much popularity as it
did when it was aired from studio five of Radio Pakistan. I have even worked for studio 14 which was for children‘s
programmes,‖ he said.

Qamar Shahbaz, a renowned Sindhi writer, still calls himself a radioman. He has written a number of short stories and
plays. Beginning his career with Radio Pakistan in 1972, Qamar started writing one-hour short plays in Sindhi. ―Later, they
were translated in Urdu and were also adapted for TV. Because of this, my main affiliation has been with studio nine, which
is no more. Though I had stopped working for radio for a few years now, but still whenever I visited the place, it reminded
me of our struggles,‖ Qamar sadly says.

Qazi Wajid is another famous name affiliated with the rich history of Radio Pakistan. He joined the radio as a kid and most
of his work is mostly for children. Recalling his work in studio 14, Qazi said that Naunehal ―was the first children‘s drama
that I did which was broadcast in 1956.‖ Later, Qazi‘s character in Qazi ji ka Qaida became very popular among children.
This journey then moved to studio nine ―where I also did a lot of adult dramas as well,‖

The list of such artists can go on as it is an exhaustive one. This is the same studio where Liaqat Ali Khan addressed the
nation and it remains no more. The transmission is now being broadcast from the new broadcasting house at Civic Centre.
On the whole, the loss of belongings and equipments may be overcome but the irreparable loss of the burnt memories and
studios is huge for the people who are what they are because of Radio Pakistan.
(By Sidra Rafique, The News-19, 15/11/2007)


                                                              97
                               Another NGO penalised for filing frivolous plea
KARACHI, Nov 15: The Sindh High Court on Thursday penalised another frivolous petitioner with costs amounting to
Rs50,000 and asked its registrar to initiate action for the recovery of the amount if not deposited with the court nazir within
a month.

The amount would be utilised for procurement of books and renovation of the lawyers‘ library in the high court, a division
bench comprising Justices Munib Ahmed Khan and Abdur Rehman Farooq Pirzada ordered.

The petitioner, Pacific Social Welfare Association, had alleged that a multi-storeyed building was being constructed on plot
CS-64, Block 7, Federal B Area, without any sanction. The Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) not only remained a
silent spectator but its officials were conniving with the builder.

In its rejoinder, the KBCA stated that no illegality was involved in the construction of the building. The building plan was
submitted to it for approval and it duly sanctioned the structure in accordance with the Karachi Building and Town Planning
Regulations,2002, and the Sindh Building Control Ordinance of 1979.

The KBCA counsel, Shahid Jamil Khan, said that the authority had also ensured that the construction conformed to the
sanctioned plan. Another non-governmental organisation had earlier challenged the building as unauthorised but the fact
was concealed from the court.

The lawyer said that frivolous petitions wasted the precious time not only of the court but also of the authority. They created
an unnecessary and entirely avoidable burden on the KBCA‘s resources. A large number of petitions against unauthorised
constructions were filed by associations and societies without any legal status and such organisations should be made to
pay for abusing the judicial process. He pleaded that prohibitive costs should be imposed to discourage frivolous litigation.
(Dawn-19, 16/11/2007)



                                 Saddar Empress Market shops to be shifted
The city‘s 118-year-old heritage landmark, the Saddar Empress Market (SEM), will have the shops shifted from its
premises soon. The shifting, which will be done in phases, will start within a month and, after it is cleared, the market will be
preserved as a heritage building.

Official sources, speaking exclusively to The News, said that the shifting of shops will be done in phases as, at present, the
SEM has 1,720 shops and the rent given to the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) yearly amounts to about Rs12.5
million. Initially, 629 shops will be shifted, within a month, and the remainder within 10 months.

The SEM is built over two acres of land, which could be more considering that some of its land has been grabbed by the
land mafia. The shops will be shifted to Shoabzi Market, which is located behind the SEM. The shifting, official sources
said, could have been done earlier but this matter went to the court and litigation caused a delay in this regard.

During a visit to the SEM, it was found that the market is in a dilapidated condition and there is no concept of cleanliness
there. People have illegally occupied pavements and spaces in front of the shops. Shoppers hardly have any space to
move and beggars add to the mess and make visiting the market a harrowing experience.

Official sources admitted that lapses were made in the maintenance of the building. However, more revenue was required
as the city government spends on 60 to 65 markets.
At present, land grabbers and encroachments are taking up a major chunk of the space there, including the road around
the market. A group selling dry fruits has permanently occupied its own space.

In area that is meant to be the parking lot, all kinds of businesses are being run under the alleged collusion of the police.
Just opposite the Rainbow Centre, fruit vendors have completely occupied open space, and the garbage they produce
contributes heavily to the choking of sewerage lines, which results in overflowing of gutters in the area on a consistent
basis.

At the SEM, one can find every kind of shop, including a unique bird market. However, no one is aware of much the rent is
payed by the shops that have been present there for a long time now illegaly.

Moreover, private car rental companies most of the time occupy the roads around the market, leaving little or no space for
shoppers‘ vehicles, which means many are hesitant to visit the market to shop. The market has a rich history that dates
back over a century. In its heyday, diplomats and the Parsi community used to shop at this old market.

Encroachments, it is clear to see, are rampant around the SEM. The area is notorious for hosting some of the biggest traffic
jams in Karachi on a consistent basis. The roads around the market are famous for being ruled by buses. The road, it
should be added, falls under the cantonment limits.

City government officials said that during the shifting of this old market, conflicts could erupt between the city government
and cantonment board. It has already been seen that, when the road opposite the Rainbow Centre gets inundated during
monsoons, the city government claims that this road belongs to the cantonment board.

In the first phase, 629 vegetable and meat shopkeepers will be shifted and they will be placed in an alternative space on a
temporary basis. This process will be completed by December 1.
The second phase will be completed in the next ten months, and will entail the shifting of the remaining 839 shops in the
market.

The new market will also have a parking lot of about 2,000 cars besides which security measures will also be ensured,
official sources maintained.


                                                              98
Replying to a question whether this building of SEM will be declared a heritage building, official sources replied in the
affirmative. He added that this original building structure would not be changed and it would be maintained at all costs.

Expanding on the plan, the source said that various places will be maintained for the people to sit. One the market‘s
building is cleared and it is declared a heritage building, its complete preservation will be done by the city government, who
will responsible to take care of the old building similar to the job it is doing with the old KMC building.

It may be recalled that City Naib-Nazim, Nasreen Jalil, had, some days back, ordered the cleaning of the building and had
particularly stressed on the fact that the red stone of the building should be preserved, for which sand blasting was done.
Now, for the restoration of its original majesty and beauty, this building needs additional sand blasting as well as fumigation
and complete cleaning and washing so that it can attract not only locals, but also tourists.
(By Fasahat Mohiuddin, The News-20, 16/11/2007)



                                   Three different projects declared invalid
The Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) has warned the public not to get involved in dealings with three different
projects owing to the violation of construction laws in the said projects while a demolition squad has razed a structure in
Lyari.

According to a press statement issued on Friday, the authority has taken action against ‗Al-Mustafa Towers‘ located in
Federal B. Area, Block-7 on a charge of charging prices for shops and residential flats over and above those fixed by the
authority.

It is worth mentioning here that on receiving a complaint on this project, the provincial ombudsman had earlier asked KBCA
to take necessary action against them while declaring the project void. Moreover, two other projects, located on plot No 43,
Block-3, BMCHS, and plot no Z-110, Block 7/8, KAECHS, have been declared illegal by the KBCA and the public have
been warned not to deal with any of the said projects. In another incident, a demolition squad razed the columns and roof of
the fourth floor of a structure situated on plot No. 18, LY-7, Moosa Lane.
(The News-14, 17/11/2007)



                             Over 100 offices snuffed out of business after fire
The fire at Caesar‘s Towers (also known by its grander name - the National I.T. Park) earlier this month has left tenants of
different offices in the 16-storeyed building worried for their safety as the owner of the building has brushed aside demands
for a proper safety system in place. He has also refused to bear responsibility for the damage or compensate for the loss
caused by the short circuit as a result of substandard wiring that caused the fire in the first place.

Approximately 150 offices were affected due to the massive fire that broke out on the evening of November 3 disrupting the
power supply, which has still not resumed in some offices compelling them to switch over to generators. Most of the offices
are of software companies who rely on computers and the internet for their transaction nationally and internationally. The
impression of the breakdowns in the building may go beyond Pakistan, say tenants.
―They cannot afford to do without electricity even for a single minute so they had to use generators since the owner of these
offices, Haji Ibrahim, has out rightly refused to fix the cables,‖ said a staff member, requesting anonymity.

During a visit to the building, it was observed that the power and telephone cables were completely burnt and lay exposed
in the basement of the building. ―It has been twelve days today and we have been requesting the owner of the office to
restore electricity by installing a new wiring but he refuses to bear the cost and expects us to invest Rs.60, 000 to Rs.70,
000 for the wiring if we want to continue working here,‖ said Faraz Khan, Chief Architect, Emergen Consulting Private
Limited.

Another employee revealed that the landlord asked the tenants to pay for Rs.100,000 for the fixing of the building‘s cables if
they wanted to continue with their business in the building. ―It is a stalemate. We have to pay if we want to operate from the
same office otherwise we will have to vacate the place,‖ he said.

Many of the building occupants argue that since they were the tenants of the building, the repair costs should be borne by
the owner. Some employees at the office also alleged that Ibrahim was indifferent on the issue because he wanted to rent
the offices at a higher rate (which the current companies were unwilling to pay) and it would be easier to ask them to vacate
after the incident. However, Ibrahim was unable to comment on the issue despite several attempts to reach him.

Mercifully, since the fire erupted after 6pm when the offices were closed, there were no casualties reported. However, a few
staff members who were present were still reported to be under treatment in hospital. ―An account manager who was
working late that day is still admitted in the hospital because his condition is not stable. By the time he was rescued he had
had inhaled enough carbon monoxide which caused suffocation,‖ The News learnt through his colleague.

Tenants complained that the fire could have been controlled if the fire precaution measures were satisfactory. It was learnt
that the substandard cable conduits (which provide protection to the cable) used in the wiring emitted a thick black smoke
after being completely burnt, due to which most of the office furniture was completely destroyed.

People in the building, especially the liftmen, were now apprehensive of using the elevators and were questioning the
maintenance and standard of the cables used in them too. ―The owner has no right to put the lives of the workers at risk,‖
they say.

It was also learnt that the emergency facilities in the building (which is one of the largest Science and Technology Parks in
the city) were not satisfactory and the staff members had earlier cautioned the management of adopting safety measures
but they paid no heed. There were no automatic fire sprinklers and only a few fire extinguishers and due to the lack of
apparatus with fire fighters as well, the fire could not be extinguished in time and caused damage worth millions.

                                                             99
―Fire precautions are the first thing that should be considered during the construction of high rise buildings and the safety
measures at STPs in Lahore and Islamabad are relatively better, unlike in Karachi,‖ added Faraz.

Referring to the emergency facilities during the planning and construction of high rise buildings, Ayaz Khan, Controller
Buildings Karachi Building and Control Authority (KBCA) confirmed that at the time of planning and construction, fire
emergencies are kept in mind and the architects design accordingly but often after the issuance of a ―completion certificate‖
the managing authorities of the building do not maintain it.
―Instead of maintaining according to the planned structure, the owners conveniently change the plan to suit their needs and
do not bother consulting architects,‖ said Khan.

However, seeing no hope of repair or maintenance by the owner any time soon, most of the offices have been vacated and
shifted elsewhere, while some employees have been operating from home. However, there are others who have no choice
but to work under the challenging circumstances since they have no place to go.
(By Aroosa Masroor, The News-20, 18/11/2007)



                               CS stops land allotment to Arbab’s ‘favourites’
The Sindh Chief Secretary (CS) Ejaz Qureshi has taken serious notice of the allotment of billions of rupees worth of land in
the city at highly concessional rates to ―favourites‖ during the last few days of the Sindh government and directed the
authorities concerned to stop this illegal practice immediately.

Sources disclosed that the CS took action on Saturday after receiving reports that the Board of Revenue (BoR) and
scrutiny committee have cleared 150 cases of illegal allotment of worthy city land in just one month on the directives of
Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim.

According to the sources, the committee held five meetings within a month while violating the rules and procedures and
cleared 150 cases, while massive irregularities were found in the allotment of such lands.

However, the CS issued an order on Saturday, directing the BoR and the scrutiny committee to review all the cases cleared
by them and, before clearing such cases, that the land policy of the Sindh government be revised first.

The land scam was initially unearthed when Member, Land Utilisation, BoR, Aftab Memon, refused to allow the allotment of
prime land to a friend of the CM, terming Arbab‘s order against the rules.

Later, the CM not only removed Aftab Memon from the post but also returned his services to federal government.
Afterwards, four other officers were posted on this post - all transfered by Arbab within one year for not obeying his orders
to allot the land to his friend - a gold businessman.

The crisis aggravated when the then CS, Aslam Sanjarani, refused to clear this deal. Ultimately, he was transferred on the
recommendation of Arbab. Another CS, Shakil Durrani, met the same fate upon his refusal to obey the CM‘s orders
regarding this allotment.

However, the next CS, Fazlur Rehman, constituted a scrutiny committee comprising Senior Member Sindh, BoR, Anwar
Haider, Member, LU, Shoaib Siddiqi, EDO, Karachi, Sualeh Farooqi, Muslim Abbas, Member, CM Investment Cell,
Secretary, Finance, two businessmen Siraj Qasim Teli and Haroon Siddiqi and members of concerned departments.

The scrutiny committee was constituted to assess the value of the land, the purpose of its allotment and to collect the
actual price from those who secured the land on concessional rates on the recommendation of the competent authority.

Sources said that the committee held five meetings during one month and cleared 150 cases despite objections by the city
Nazim and secretary, finance. They had raised particular objection on one case, in which the CM had forced the committee
and BoR to allot the land at a concessational price to his friend.

Secretary, finance, wrote a letter to the CS and CM, declaring that the land could not be allotted to the ―Umra partner‖ of
the CM at a concessational price. Officials confirmed that the BoR allotted 80 acres of land to the CM‘s friend in Landhi, 54
acres in Scheme-33 and five, ten, two and one-and-a-half acres plots in the same Scheme-33 on concessional rates, while
the actual price of this land runs into billions of rupees.

Sources said that the same land was sold to builders at the market price and the beneficiary earned billions of rupees,
while the Sindh government was deprived of this amount.

Sources said that the finance department objected that there were no rules allowing the allotment of this land to a firm or a
person for establishing an industrial estate, pointing out that, under the rules, it is the duty of the provincial government to
establish an industrial estate.

Sources said that the current CS, in his order issued on Saturday, said: ―I noted that the provincial government‘s land worth
billion of rupees is being allotted by the competent authority on the recommendation of the scrutiny committee. This land is
given often on very low concenssional rates. Though certain valid conditions are imposed, these are neither monitored nor
enforced.‖ The CS order said that the revenue department and the scrutiny committee should address this important issue
properly.

The CS said: ―Secondly, big parcels of land are recommended for allotment to private parties with the objectives of
establishing industrial estate; the provincial government should find out the factors responsible to be able to rectify the
situation. The scrutiny committee is advised to give its assessment and recommendations at the earliest.‖

The CS told the authorities that there was a need to revise the land allotment policy of the province as the present policy
was cumbersome and created controversies.
(By Tahir Hasan Khan, The News-19, 18/11/2007)

                                                             100
                                  Railways defy KBCA to build officers’ club
KARACHI, Nov 18: A tug of war continues between the Pakistan Railways (PR) and the Karachi Building Control Authority
(KBCA) over the construction of an officers‘ club being carried out by the railways, which has refused to follow the
authority‘s directives regarding the construction, it has been reliably learnt. The work continues despite clear orders of the
KBCA to stop it immediately.

According to sources, the railways is constructing a club house for its officers at the crossing of Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road
and Hoshang Road in the Civil Lines without getting its building plans approved by the KBCA. When the KBCA approached
the railways, the PR rejected the authority‘s jurisdiction saying it was competent enough to carry out the construction on its
land without getting anybody‘s approval, permission or NOC.

The sources said that the railways club building has been designed by the NED University of Engineering and Technology‘s
architecture and planning department, which itself is facing trouble in carrying out restoration/construction work at its old
city campus building without obtaining the mandatory NOC/approvals from the relevant departments. The old campus is
protected under the Sindh Cultural Heritage Protection Act.

The KBCA‘s Saddar Town Controller Agha Maqsood Abbas had written a letter to the railways on the subject ―Construction
of railways officers‘ club near railways officers‘ bungalows, Civil Lines, Abdullah Haroon Road, Saddar Town.

In the letter the KBCA had said that the railways was carrying out the construction without approval of the building plan, and
that it was being carried out without supervision of the licensed architect as well as engineer and that the construction was
within the chamfered position of the crossing of Abdullah Haroon Road and Hoshang Road.

The KBCA had directed the railways to ―Therefore stop the construction forthwith and obtain (the) necessary NOC/approval
prior to raising further construction.‖

The railways rejected the KBCA‘s directive and continued to carry out the construction. In its response to the KBCA
directive the Divisional Superintendent of the Pakistan Railways, Mir Mohammad Khaskheli, said that the PR was
empowered to carry out construction on its lands without any permission from any outside agency.

In his response to the KBCA the local chief of the railways (referring to the KBCA‘s letter No KBCA/DCB-1 (Saddar
Town)/UA/2007/152 dated Aug 7, 2007) has said, ―In reference to your letter on the above subject, it is intimated that as
per para 19.12 of the Railways Engineering Code, the Railways Club Karachi was planned and designed by the department
of architecture and planning of the NED University of Engineering and Technology in accordance with the available
railways land at Hoshang Road, Karachi.

Interference ‘vehemently rejected’
―The show cause notice served under your above referred letter is vehemently rejected. Your observations and the
substances provided in the aforesaid letter are absolutely incorrect and have no substantial ground. Factual and para-wise
comments are offered as under.

―1. As per PWR Way & Works Manual para 29.1, Pakistan Railways, under Section 7 of the Railways Act No IV read in
conjunction with Section 291 of the Cantonments Act No III of 1924, has been provided the right to erect buildings on their
own land without obtaining approval of the municipal or cantonment authorities in whose areas the site may fall.
―2. Pakistan Railways has its setup of competent engineers who are competent enough to supervise engineering structures
of any sort.
―3. In 1990, Pakistan Railways had already extended cooperation with the KDA by providing space on both Abdullah
Haroon Road and Hoshang Road and provided 25 feet extension; Pakistan Railways is unable to provide more space.

―Besides all above, the existing structure of the Clifton Flyover (Irani Bridge) is aligned in accordance with the existing road
arrangements of Hoshang Road. Further extension of Hoshang Road will necessitate (the dismantling of) the columns
provided under the takeoff point of the said flyover. Hence, it is practically not possible to extend/expand the Hoshang
Road.

―(With the) foregoing in view, it is hoped that the KBCA will understand the railways‘ position. Accordingly, any
interference/hindrance in construction being made by the Pakistan Railways on its own land will be unlawful and (a) straight
violation of the aforementioned acts,‖ concluded Mr Khaskheli.
(By Bhagwandas, Dawn-15, 19/11/2007)



                          Pricey, undeveloped housing schemes turn people off
KARACHI: The city government is getting scant response to the 9,000 plots being advertised as part of the Hawkesbay
Scheme 42 (HS42) because there is the perception that the prices are too high for such an underdeveloped area and that
their money could get stuck for a long time.

The scheme was launched under the Lyari Development Authority (LDA) which has allocated 9,000 more plots - 5,000 240-
yard plots and 4,000 400-yard plots. However, the prices that were issued were much higher than what people expected –
Rs 600,000 for a 240-yard plot and Rs 1.2 million for a 400-yard plot, especially considering that fact that there isn‘t even a
sewerage system in place.

People showed an extraordinary response to the Taiser Town Scheme launched by the city government during the last 18
months because the prices were relatively better. The price of a single plot in HS42 is much higher.

The scheme was originally launched by the defunct Karachi Development Authority in 1984 and is spread over 11,450
acres. During the last 17 years, around 34,687 plots have been allotted but barely five percent of the allottees have been
given possession; the main reason is underdevelopment.


                                                             101
Abdul Majeed, a resident of North Nazimabad, said that he had submitted over a dozen forms to acquire a plot in Taiser
Town but didn‘t even think about HS42. ―The plots in Taiser Town are very economical. I collected my family member‘s
CNICs, submitted the application forms and luckily got one plot in the balloting held last year,‖ he said.

A resident of Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Raza Haider, said that the prices of the 240- and 400-yard plots are not just very high, but
successful allottees will have to pay huge amounts for lease charges, documentation charges, registration, stamp duty,
water, sewerage, electricity, gas and more.
―The city government and the LDA is spending huge amounts on publicity for this scheme and saying that it‘s for the
common man, but, how can the common man pay Rs 600,000 for a 240-yard plot and then development charges on top of
that?‖ he asked.

The citizens who participated in the city government‘s previous scheme - Taiser Town - had a very bad experience; the
people that lost the balloting had their money stuck for a very long time (six to 12 months). Now they are concerned that
HS42 applicants would end up with even bigger amounts of money (up to Rs 121,000 for an application) getting stuck.
―No one is giving the exact dates of when the balloting will take place and when the money of the unsuccessful applicants
will be released,‖ said Kamran Mehmood, a resident of Gulistan-e-Johar.

The application for a 240-yard plot has to be submitted along with a pay order of Rs 61,000 and an application for a 400-
yard plot has to come with Rs 121,000. The LDA has yet to announce the deadline for the applications. The city
government had also reserved a 10-percent quota for overseas Pakistanis and five percent was earmarked for people
residing in the surroundings of HS42.

An official at the LDA office, located in Civic Center, confirmed to Daily Times that the government has yet to announce the
deadline for application forms. When it is announced it will be published in the newspapers, he pressed. To a question, he
claimed that the LDA has completed development work in almost five HS42 sectors and the process of handing over
possession letters has started. ―During the last couple of months, the LDA appealed to people to pay their outstanding dues
for development. After launching 9,000 more plots, the old allottees of this scheme turned up as well,‖ he said.
He declined to given the numbers of allottees who have possession of their plots. However an LDA source said that about
700 people had turned up in the last two weeks.

Daily Times tried to contact LDA Director Land Management Nadeem Karim and LDA Director General Sarfaraz Khan but
they were not available.
(By Jamil Khan, DailyTimes-B1, 19/11/2007)



                                      We built this city... without architects
KARACHI: Associat Prof. Fariha Ubaid of the NED University‘s
Architecture and Planning department is disillusioned that no
architect has ever been elected as an MNA even on a technocrat‘s
seat.


―Look at the development works around the city,‖ she says. ―All over
the world, traffic management plans are reviewed, altered or
modified rather than just widening the roads but in Karachi, it‘s all in
reverse.‖ For her, as a nation, Pakistan has lost excellence in design
and creativity due to a lack of professionalism and society does not
support architects.

This doom-and-gloom scenario may be just one part of the story in a
complex city such as Karachi, but Ubaid‘s outlook is shared by many
other architects, who are skeptical that the people in charge of this
city have taken the time to consult the experts. Daily Times got a
chance to speak to many of them at the Dawood College of
Engineering and Technology (DCET) lecture programme ‗Diversity
in Architecture‘ for First Founders‘ Day to remember late architects
Prof. Kausar Bashir and Amin Sheikh Saturday.

Renowned town planner Arif Hassan reminisced, for example, that
in the past, an architect had two clients to serve: the elite and the
government. But today there are five clients – the corporate sector,
the government, the elite, the middle class and the slum. ―There
should be at least one architect at the UC level because his
expertise has not been applied to development work,‖ Hasan argued. ―At present, the architect is serving the corporate
sector while the government has stepped back.‖

This is why a vacuum of expertise has developed for the built environment, added DCET chairman Prof. Asif Nawaz.

Saleem Thariani was critical of a ―concrete‖ solution for the city in which everything should be built with the material. He has
also noticed a lack of skills in young architects who pay too much attention to subjective design evolution.

Architects and planners from the private sector and some NGOs such as Shehri have been critical about the city
government‘s rush to build flyovers and underpasses in a bid to control the traffic problems. ―Without the assistance of
professional architects, no development work will yield the desired results,‖ argued DCET lecturer Yasira Pasha, warning
that because of this Karachi would face problems after 10 years because there is no proper planning today. Pasha
recommended that in a city of 16 million where 400 vehicles are added to the roads each day, planners and leasing
companies should focus on large buses and other transportation. ―The currently constructed flyovers and underpasses will
not be able to address the escalating rush of traffic.‖

                                                              102
Less than two percent of architectural services have been put to use in Pakistan, lamented NED‘s Prof. Noman Ahmed to
back this point. ―In England, [for example] even a single building, whether in the woods, cannot be built until an architect
renders his services.‖
(By Irfan Aligi, DailyTimes-B1, 19/11/2007)



                                  NGOs fined for filing ‘frivolous’ petitions
KARACHI, Nov 21: Two more petitions containing unfounded allegations in respect of construction of buildings on two plots
were dismissed by the Sindh High Court on Wednesday with costs amounting to Rs 50,000 each.
One non-governmental organization, Karachi Peace and Justice Society, alleged illegal construction on plot number A/87,
Block 13-C, Gulshan-i-Iqbal, while another, Karachi Watch and Care Society, charged the owner of plot GR-W, 1/147,
Ghulam Hussain Road, Garden West, with gross violations. The petitioners accused the Karachi Building Control Authority
of inaction because of the illegal gratification paid to its officials.

The KBCA said in its reports that both the structures were raised in accordance with the construction designs sanctioned by
it. Compulsory open space had been left uncovered and other regulations had been followed. There was no dereliction of
duty or complicity on the part of its officials.

KBCA counsel Shahid Jamil Khan said in one case the petitioner was unable to accompany the court nazir to the
construction site, though the court had ordered inspection at the request of the petitioner. He said baseless petitions
wasted not only the court‘s time but also distracted the KBCA from performance of its functions.

The petitioners tried to wriggle out of their baseless allegations by disappearing from the court. The bench, which consisted
of Justices Munib Ahmed Khan and Abdur Rehman Farooq Pirzada, did not allow their counsel to withdraw the petitions
and dismissed them with heavy costs. It warned of heavier costs if frivolous petitions were moved by the two organizations
again.

Hindu temple case
The bench dismissed another petition against allotment of four adjacent plots to a Hindu temple adjacent to Bagh Ibne
Qasim. The temple has recently been renovated by the city government and four adjoining plots were allotted to it for
further expansion and development as desired by the Hindu Panchayat.

The petitioner, Shri Mahant Bawa Baboo, questioned the legal status of the Panchayat to act on behalf of the temple.

The petition was contested by the CDGK counsel, Manzoor Ahmed, who said his client should have been complimented for
undertaking the renovation and development work but the petitioner seemed to have some dispute with the Panchayat,
which should best be settled outside the court.

Hydrant removal
Another bench comprising Justice Mrs Yasmeen Abbasy and Mahmood Alam Rizvi took a serious view of the authorities‘
failure to shift the Muslimabad hydrant despite a court order. It observed that the shifting was overdue and if the hydrant
was not removed within a month the officials concerned would be dealt with strictly in accordance with the law of contempt.
Advocate M.A. Baig appeared for petitioner-lawyer Syed Sami Ahmed, a resident of the neighborhood, who said the
hydrant was both a public and private nuisance.
(Dawn-17, 22/11/2007)



                          Irregularities in affairs: housing society put on notice
ISLAMABAD, Nov 25: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has served notice on a private housing society for its
alleged irregularities in developing a housing scheme in Sector E-16 (Zone-II) and gave it 15-day warning to straighten its
affairs.

―We have served notice on the management of Roshan Pakistan Corporation (RPC) Housing Scheme after we found some
irregularities in it,‖ Capital Development Authority (CDA) Housing Societies Director Sarwar Sindhu said on Sunday.

He said the RPC had been asked in the notice to re-demarcate its land so that the authority could know as to how much
land the housing scheme had and what part of it had been mortgage with the CDA.

The official said the management of the scheme had been asked to submit its development schedule and deposit bank
guarantee (equal to the cost of development of the scheme) with the CDA. ―If the RPC does not comply with the orders and
fails to meet the deadline of 15 days, its NOC would be cancelled,‖ he said. According to sources, after one year of the
issuance of the No-Objection Certificate (NOC) to the private housing scheme, the city managers realised that it was not
eligible to be awarded official approval.

However, the belated action of the CDA against the housing scheme provided full opportunity to its management to collect
millions of rupees from hundreds of plot seekers who were now worried about their money.

Mr Sindhu said the management of RPC housing scheme in Sector E-16 (Zone-II) had failed to fulfil its commitment given
to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Capital Development Authority that it would complete at least 10 per
cent of the development work by October 30, 2007.
He said the scheme was under investigation by NAB which favoured its management and gave it an opportunity to
complete at least 10 per cent development work by the end of last month.

During that time the management of RPC launched a massive media campaign and advertised both on print and electronic
media to attract maximum number of plot seekers not only from within the country but also from abroad (overseas
Pakistanis).

                                                           103
The sources said the CDA and NAB were well aware of the fact that the scheme‘s management was not in a position to sell
plots but even then the two authorities did not stop the RPC from giving out attractive ads.

On the other hand, Mr Sindhu said according to the NOC issued to the housing scheme in 2006, it should have 1,620
kanals, but investigations revealed that it had compact piece of only 900 kanals.
―The management of the housing scheme has assured that it would purchase more land to make the available land into a
single unit,‖ Mr Sindhu said.

According to the rules of the CDA, minimum requirement of land for launching a private housing scheme in Zone-II is 800
kanals of which 30 per cent land is mortgaged with the CDA and the land for public use like roads, streets, parks, schools
and mosques is transferred in the name of the CDA.

As per its NOC requirement the RPC had mortgaged 30 per cent land (486 kanals) of 1,620 kanals, and the land for pubic
use was also transferred in the authority‘s name in papers.

The CDA director said the site visit of the housing scheme revealed that no development had been carried out there
despite the fact that its management had assured NAB and the CDA that it would complete 10 per cent work before
October 30, 2007.
(Dawn-2, 26/11/2007)



                                          Cases against KBCA men, Imtiaz
KARACHI, Nov 25: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Sindh, on Saturday asked the Special Anti-corruption Court,
Karachi, to produce the progress of cases against former controller of Karachi Building Control Authority Brig (Retd) A. S.
Nasir and former provincial minister Imtiaz Sheikh.

Informed sources believe that the cases, pertaining to a land scam, may be transferred from the anti-corruption court to
NAB courts, the sources said.

Former minister Imtaiz Sheikh and his brother, Maqbool Sheikh, are facing charges relating to unauthorised and illegal
transfer and allotment of hundreds of acres land in Korangi areas to private parties.

According to the prosecution, Imtaiz Sheikh abused his position as public servant and played a key role in allotting
government lands to private parties illegally while he was holding the portfolio of revenue minister.

In the other case, Brig Nasir, Gul Mohammad Khanani (owner of Gul Plaza), and KBCA offers Ali Zafar Qadri, Syed
Mehmood Ali, Abdul Rehman Ansari and Ahsan, were charged with under PPC Section 161 (public servant taking
gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act), Section 162 (taking gratification, in order, by corrupt
or illegal means to influence public servant), Section 163 (taking gratification for exercise of personal influence with public
servant), Section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant or by banker, merchant or agent), Section 419 (punishment
for cheating by impersonation), Section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing of property), Section 468 (forgery for
purpose of cheating) and Section 471/34 (using as genuine a forged document; read with Section 5(2) of the Provision of
Corruption Act-1947.
(Dawn-15, 26/11/2007)



                                 Real estate attracts huge foreign investment
NARIMAN Point in south Mumbai, the commercial hub of India‘s financial capital, has for years had the dubious distinction
of being the most expensive piece of property in the country. Dubious, because the infrastructure in the district is so
depressing, that no modern metropolis in the world would want to lay claim to it.
All the top Indian corporates and most multinationals operating in India have a presence in Nariman Point. Even Mukesh
Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries – who earlier this month became the richest man in the world for a few days,
with assets swelling above $63 billion thanks to the stock market boom in India – also has his office in Nariman Point.

But right outside his swanky office, and plastered across the commercial district, you will find shabby scenes: of hawkers
cleaning their utensils on the pavements, of thousands of office workers grabbing a quick bite of Bombay‘s famous
cuisines, ‗pav-bhaji‘ or ‗wada-pav‘ from the vendors, then washing their hands on the roads, of beggars pestering tourists,
of itinerant ear cleaners pushing tweezers and tongs to de-wax bored cabbies, and of eunuchs doing their rounds.

Scenes, not exactly from the commercial hub of an aspiring global financial hub, you would say. But despite the crumbling
infrastructure in Nariman Point, corporates both domestic and international are willing to spend a fortune on leasing office
space or even acquiring units.

Last week, international real estate consultant CB Richard Ellis came out with its half-yearly survey on global rents, which
placed Mumbai – especially Nariman Point – way up at the top, next only to London. Average office rents in Nariman Point,
the survey noted, add up to nearly $190 a sq ft, a 55 per cent jump over the previous year‘s figure. London‘s West End is
the most expensive at $330, but other cities – including New York, Los Angeles and over a dozen other American cities –
are way below these levels. Midtown Manhattan, the priciest in North America, ranks a lowly 12th, with annual rents of a
little above $100 a sq ft. Other pricey cities include Moscow, Tokyo, Paris, New Delhi, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Anshuman Magazine, chairman and managing director, CB Richard Ellis South Asia, warns that high rents in the city could
act as a deterrent for future investments. But with money flowing into the stock markets from all over the world, demand for
office space in south Mumbai is unlikely to slacken in the near future.

Last week, an NRI from the UK also paid an eye-popping Rs100,000 a sq ft for a plush apartment in Nariman Point,
shattering all previous records. The flat was being auctioned by a leading international bank, and there were several
bidders offering fancy prices for it.
                                                              104
                                                            *****

WHILE the property bubble has burst in the United States and a few other western countries, in India there appears to be
no end in sight to the buoyancy in the real estate market. Last week, about 50 top executives from the Gulf countries
descended on Mumbai to participate in an international real estate exposition.

While many of the participants were selling apartments and villas in Dubai and other emirates of the UAE to rich Indians,
quite a few of the developers were over-awed by the vibrant Indian market.
The opening of the real estate sector to foreign direct investment (FDI) has transformed a once sluggish industry.
International developers and financiers from the US, Canada, the UK, the Middle East and South East Asia have ploughed
in about $10 billion into the real estate sector in India so far.

Gulf-based developers and financiers are also planning to inject an additional $25 billion into the Indian property business
over the next two years. The real estate market in India is expected to balloon to $50 billion by 2010 and double to $100
billion by 2015.

Several high-profile developers from the region and from the US were in Mumbai last week, negotiating with Indian partners
and seeking joint ventures. The most prominent was Donald Trump Jr of the Trump Organisation, who declared this was
the right time to enter India.

Trump said his group would invest in up-market residential properties in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad, besides
resorts in Goa. The organisation is discussing with leading Indian developers, seeking collaboration, and the first few
projects would take-off in about 18 months.

Another American realty major, Tishman Speyer, recently launched its first project in Hyderabad. The company has set up
TSI Ventures in a joint collaboration with India‘s ICICI Ventures. The maiden project is a 2.2 million sq ft commercial one in
the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.

The joint venture will be raising its second India dedicated fund this year, says Katherine Farley, senior managing director
of Tishman Speyer. About half of the existing $700 million fund would be committed in the current year, she adds.
The company has also won a prestigious project in Hyderabad, to set up a $2 billion self-contained township on the
outskirts of the city. Spread over 400 acres, it would include 20 million sq ft of residential and commercial space.

                                                            *****

BUT the most significant deals in the real estate sector are being stitched up by the country‘s largest developer, DLF Ltd.
Kushal Pal Singh, chairman of the group, is today the world‘s richest property baron, with personal wealth exceeding $35
billion.

DLF has built an enviable land bank, which will ensure that its plate is full for the next few years. Last week, DLF sold off a
49 per cent stake in eight residential projects for about $425 million – seven of these were sold to Merrill Lynch for $375
million. The move will enable the group to unlock part of the value in its land bank.

For Merrill Lynch, which has invested over $500 million in the property business in India, this makes sense as it gets to
partner the country‘s leading developer in putting up prime properties across thecountry. Other American financial majors,
including Blackstone, Citigroup, 3i and JP Morgan Chase, are also chasing deals around the country.

The Delhi-based DLF, which is the single largest private developer in Gurgaon – a satellite city to the capital – has been
entering into tie-ups with leading international players. It recently joined hands with Hines, an American property investor, to
promote a commercial complex in Gurgaon.

But the most important deal it signed was with Limitless Holdings of Dubai, for promoting a $15 billion, 4,000-hectare
township on the outskirts of Bangalore. Other Dubai-based developers have also been rushing in with tie-ups with Indian
partners to develop residential, commercial and retail projects, besides IT parks and self-contained townships.

Emaar Properties, the largest Middle East-based developer, has a joint venture with Delhi-based MGF. It is putting up
several prestigious projects in cities like Chandigarh, Gurgaon and Hyderabad. Over the next five years, it hopes to develop
over 100,000 residential units.

Dubai‘s leading business house, Al Futtaim‘s, is also planning a festival city – like the $15 billion one in Dubai – in India.
Damac Properties and Deyaar Real Estate have plans to invest $5 billion each in India over the next three years in cities
like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

Hussain Sajwani, the Damac chairman, who was in Mumbai last week, says the group is in talks with several leading Indian
developers for a possible tie-up.

And Dubai‘s Technology and Media Free Zone Authority will soon begin work on an ambitious SmartCity, an infotech
complex, in Kochi, the commercial capital of Kerala. The $400 million project will generate employment of over 100,000
jobs over the next decade.

Demand for residential, commercial and retail properties is huge in India. About 150 million sq ft of office space is being
developed currently, and will enter the market over the next two years. But there is a massive 20 million unit shortage in the
housing sector.

India is also witnessing massive urbanisation, with about 300 million people expected to move out of villages to cities over
the next 20 years. There has been a spurt in the number of cities with a population of over one million – there were just 35
such cities in 2001, and by 2010, there will be 53 cities with a million-plus population.
The frenzied growth in the real estate sector is unlikely to slow down over the coming years, considering the huge demand
and the massive shift in population from villages to cities.
(By Anand Kumar, Dawn-Economic & Business Review, Page-V, 26/11/2007)

                                                             105
                                   ‘Ill-planned cities are ticking time bombs’
The city is undergoing a ‗huge social revolution‘, which, if not taken care of, would lead to rising conflicts and divisions
mainly because the planners‘ schemes were devoid of social and environment considerations, said Arif Hasan, an eminent
city planner, on Sunday.

He was speaking at a seminar titled ―Mental health in a changing world, the impact of culture and diversity‖ organised by
the Pakistan Association of Mental Health (PAMH) at the Expo Centre.
He warned that, if the nature of social change was not understood or failure of public education was not addressed, there
would be chances of rising conflicts and social explosions.

Talking on ―social impact of urbanisation‖, he said that the migration towards cities was the result of what he called ‗cash
economy,‘ leading to mobility. This cash economy has also caused selfishness. He said that, owing to failure on the part of
the state to address issues of poverty, unemployment and marginalisation, this migration was compounding the problem of
housing, employment and transport in cities.

He said that around eight million people live in slum areas in the city, who are in a ‗constant state of fear‘ of evictions while
98 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line. He said that, since 1992, around 51,000 houses have been
bulldozed in the metropolis, leading to displacement of four million people.

Hasan said that the initiation of the Lyari Expressway project caused evacuation on a large scale which resulted in the loss
of education of 36,000 children.

Referring to interviews of around 100 young couples recently, he said 80 per cent of them wanted to leave the country
because of injustices, inability to own houses, lower standards of education for children, lack of entertainment facilities,
family disputes and terrible environmental problems.
He said that joint the family system was shrinking as several members of a family now earn money which led to jealousy,
besides this, the attitude of working women has also adversely affected the joint family system.

Hasan added that only those cities have overcome their problems where strong political and governance institutions
existed.

Dr Manzoor Ahmed, while talking on the ―impact of culture and diversity on human behaviour‖, said that there is a lack of
acceptance for democracy, justice and human rights in our society because ‗we are living in constant fear of loosing our
identity‘.

According to him, another reason behind this phenomenon was our particular social, moral, economic and religious
structure, which commanded us to obey orders.

Dr Pirzada Qasim Siddiqui, Vice-Chancellor, University of Karachi, said that health and education has never been a priority
of our policy makers. He said that human rights violations and denial of justice have further aggravated the problems,
leading to mental disorder.

Dr Haroon Ahmed, head of PAMH, said that a lack of predictability and the rule of law was causing anxiety and conflicts in
the society.
(By Imtiaz Ali, The News-13, 26/11/2007)



                                 Residents of Old Golimar deprived of library
The Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai Library — spread over 2,000 yards and located in Old Golimar, Site, since 1976 — is being
replaced by the district head office of the Excise and Taxation Department.

Taj Shahmeer, a local activist recalling the past, said that when the Manghopir Road from the Meva Shah Graveyard to the
Manghopir shrine was built, it affected the local communities, which were displaced from their ancestors‘ homes in the
name of development. The road project, which was the second main road after the Jinnah Road in the city, also occupied
the old Makran sports ground, depriving the local sportsmen of this facility. Shahmeer said that the-then chief minister,
Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, found that only 2,000 yards of plot was left outside the road project, on which he proposed to
establish a library dedicated to the great poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai and later implemented it by building reading rooms
and a community centre. He said that it was the old library, attractive for several youth and students, who used to visit it
frequently.

Another area activist, Comrade Rafiq, said bad days for the library started in 1994 when some miscreants set the office of
the Zonal Municipal Corporation (ZMC) West on fire and the ZMC office was shifted to the library on an ordinary basis.
Later, when the local bodies system was introduced, the library was occupied by the Site Town management.

It was a setback for the local youth, who faced difficulties in visiting the library during office hours as well as during the
evening. Secondly, the administration never considered buying new books. The people approached the provincial
ombudsman to get the library vacated from the town management. The ombudsman directed the district coordination
officer (DCO) to look into the matter sympathetically, added the activists. The DCO, after discussion with the town
management, assured local activists that they would be handed over the library after some time.

However, once again the Site Town office, located in the library premises, was set on fire on August 28, 2006. Since then
the town office was shifted to another place but the fate of the library seemed uncertain even then. Now the E&T
department has found it the best place for its new office and has started the building‘s renovation.

The library serves as a cultural centre of the area and was previously a reference library. In fact, activists pointed out that
the Bhitai Library was the only source for book lovers to seek knowledge and keep them busy. At the time when the sale of
narcotics in neighbourhood is going on unchecked, the unemployed youth is being forced to join bad company. They

                                                             106
allegedly said that the Site Town administration is involved in the closure of the library and law enforcement personnel have
been deployed there.

The library was also a community centre, where the youth organised social, cultural and literary activities frequently. It was
not only facilitating the residents of Old Golimar but also attracted people from the adjoining areas, including Jehanabad,
Pak Colony and several parts of Garden. Naib Nazim, Union Council (UC) 3, Site Town, Haji Wasil Khan presented a
resolution in the town assembly against the shifting of the E&T head office from the building, but no initiative has been
taken so far.

Ejaz Mengal, another area activist, said that it was the second time that the residents have been deprived of the library
facility. According to him in 1970, the current Pak Colony Police Station has been established in the building of another
library. He said the residents have always been eager to establish reading centres to save the future of their youth. The
people have appealed to the City Nazim Mustafa Kamal to take notice of the closure of the Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai Library
and issue directives to the town administration for the restoration of its past status instead of setting up offices in its
premises.
(By Jan Khaskheli, The News-19, 28/11/2007)



                                      Bhagwanji building: falling to pieces
The residents of Meghji Bhagwanji building located in Narainpura compound, Ranchore Lines, have been living in fear for
the past few months due to the dilapidated condition of the building that is being neglected by the City District Government
Karachi (CDGK), who has promised renovation only after the general elections are over.

The minority Hindu community residing in the 65 apartments of the building has been calling on the CDGK repeatedly and
filing complaints but their plea is falling on deaf ears, they say. Members from the community complain that the government
is neglected this ‗serious issue‘ which has put their lives at risk since ―it is currently engaged the electoral process.‖

The building which was built in 1924 (during the British colonial rule) has not been maintained to date which has led to the
weakening of structures. Of particular notice is the poor condition of the ceiling and the exposed iron bars (suspended from
the beams) after portions of the concrete roof are falling every other day in some household.
―A portion of the building recently fell down on Diwali and ruined our celebrations too. Thankfully, no casualty has been
reported so far but we spend each day in fear,‖ said a 25-year old resident, Shakuntala, mother of five children.

In government quarters not measuring more than 12 by 12 feet, families comprising seven members (on an average) are
forced to share a single room with wooden partitions or curtains. ―We have been living here since the time of our forefathers
and most of us are employed as government servants. The housing is a project of the KMC [now defunct and amalgamated
with the CDGK]. They deduct Rs1,400 from our monthly salary for maintenance but the condition of the building is in front
of you,‖ said Veerum another resident.

However, what also continues to worry these residents is an alternate living space during construction. Although the CDGK
has allotted houses in the resettlement scheme, Taiser Town, the minority community is resisting the move because they
refuse to separate from their community support system which is still intact in the Ranchore Line compound.

A vocal member of the community, Shehzad, told The News that the CDGK is considering the demolition of the compound
but they have been trying to resist and only ―want renovation at the moment‖. He said that several officials from the EDO
Works and Service Department have visited the compound and four months back, they were also told that the budget for
the purpose has been approved but the development work has not started yet. Some of the community members, said
Shehzad, have already shifted but because it is a low-income neighbourhood, a majority of them cannot afford to pay the
high rentals in other localities of the city.

The Nazim of Union Council (UC) 5, Saddar Town, Mohammad Hanif has also declared the building as ―dangerous‖. He
added that several buildings in the compound have been declared unfit for living which is why the CDGK has decided to
demolish and rebuild the restructure instead of renovating it. ―We sent a proposal to the government last year suggesting
that the building should be reconstructed comprising several floors to accommodate the growing number of people in the
community. We later sent several reminders but have yet to hear from them,‖ disclosed Hanif.

Predominantly a Hindu compound, this portion of Meghji Bhagwanji Building comprises Hindus from different communities
like Gujrati, Kathiawari, Marwari, Meghvanti and Punjabi. The Ranchore Lines compound consists of members from the
Sikh and Christian community as well and is house to approximately 25,000 people.
(By Aroosa Masroor, The News-20, 28/11/2007)



                             KBCA man fined for ignoring illegal construction
KARACHI, Nov 28: The Sindh High Court imposed a fine of Rs10,000 on a deputy controller of buildings on Wednesday for
ignoring unlawful construction of a building. A non-governmental organization, Struggle Trust, moved a petition complaining
that an unauthorised ground-plus-eight-floor structure had been raised on plot 85, Garden West. The court issued notices
to the Karachi Building Control Authority and the area deputy controller of buildings, Abdul Hamid Zardari, who filed a
counter-affidavit in an attempt to cover up the violation of building rules by the owner-builder.

KBCA counsel Shahid Jamil Khan later submitted that a building plan providing for the construction of seven stories in
addition to the ground floor was sanctioned for the plot. However, the builder constructed an additional floor and a
penthouse and tried to convert the car park into a shopping arcade. The unlawfully built shops were demolished by the
KBCA and the additional floor and penthouse were regularised in 2006 in accordance with the prescribed procedure and on
payment of the requisite fee. The petitioner no longer had a valid and subsisting cause of action and the petition should be
dismissed as frivolous.

A division bench comprising Justices Munib Ahmed Khan and Rana M. Shamim observed that a violation had occurred at
                                                            107
the time of filing of the petition. The then deputy controller of buildings, Abdul Hamid Zardari, not only ignored the violation
but also facilitated it. A regularisation application was filed and approved subsequently. The DCB could not be absolved of
his responsibility.

Dismissing the petition, the bench fined DCB Zardari Rs10,000 to be recovered from him by the SHC registrar within 15
days.

Missing person
The bench disposed of as not pressed a petition in respect of the alleged disappearance of Mohammad Ibrahim alias Ashiq
Ali Khoso.

Zaibunnisa, Ibrahim‘s mother, filed a petition alleging that he was picked up by the law-enforcement agencies early in 2006.
The federal interior ministry, the provincial home department, the police and other agencies denied having ordered or made
the arrest. They expressed their ignorance about the whereabouts of Ibrahim. When the petition came up for hearing on
Wednesday, the petitioner‘s counsel informed the bench that the petitioner was no longer interested in pursuing the matter.

Deputy Attorney-General Rizwan A. Siddiqui said the petitioner had wasted the court‘s time and leveled baseless
allegations against the law-enforcement agencies. She should be directed to pay costs for abusing the process of law.

Restrained
The bench restrained the customs department from encashing a cheque submitted by an importer for duty under the
impugned assessment procedure prescribed by the Finance Act of 2005. The petitioner‘s counsel, Minhaj Farooqui,
contended that many provisions of the Finance Act that sought to amend the Customs Act were either meaningless or
superfluous or in conflict with the existing provisions.
Issuing a notice to the respondent department, the bench stayed the recovery of the assessed amount till the next date of
hearing.
(Dawn-17, 29/11/2007)



                                    Rs10,000 fine imposed on KBCA official
A division bench of the Sindh High Court (SHC)on Wednesday imposed a fine of Rs10,000 on the Deputy-Controller,
Buildings, Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA), for not taking action against illegal constructions.

The division bench comprising Justice Munib Ahmed Khan and Justice Dr Rana Muhammad Shamim was hearing the
constitutional petition No. 1668/2007 and 6297/2005 for illegal construction, filed by the Struggle Welfare Trust against
KBCA, Town Building Control Officer and Builders and developers of Al-Arif Apartments.

The petitioner, through its counsel, Pervaiz Ahmed J Qureshi, submitted that the respondent, Builders and Developers of
Al-Arif Apartments at plot No. 2E-3 Nazimabad, were constructing a building without the approved plan, and space for car
parking was converted into commercial establishments and with the complicity of KBCA, Al-Arif Builders constructed three
additional floors, violating policy regulations. It further submitted that respondents had violated Clause 24-1.2 of the Karachi
Building and Town Planning Regulations (KBPTR), 2002, and Clause 24-4.1.6 of KBPTR 2002, refers to providing extra
space if increase in floor area of the building takes place and providing minimum one motor vehicle parking space for every
1,200 square feet floor area of residential use, respectively, committing the violation of fundamental rights of the citizens
mentioned in Articles 8, 9, 14, 23, 24 and 25 of the Constitution. He prayed the SHC to declare the constructions illegal, to
direct the KBCA to seal and demolish the constructions in order to compel the builder to leave car parking space according
to specification on the ground floor and to direct utility companies to disconnect their connections of electricity, gas and
water supply of the unauthorised portion. The SHC adjourned the matter till further orders.
(The News-13, 29/11/2007)



                                  Action against another KBCA man ordered
KARACHI, Nov 29: A division bench of the Sindh High Court on Thursday ordered stringent action against a negligent
deputy controller of buildings who allowed construction of a violative building at Lyari and issued a non-bailable warrant to
enforce the presence of the offending builder.
A petition was moved by a non-governmental organization, Karachi Helpline, alleging that unauthorized construction was
being raised on plot number 3/36, Lea Market Lyari Town, in violation of the approved plan. The high court issued notices
to the builder and the Karachi Building Control Authority and restrained the former from raising further construction.

According to the petitioner‘s counsel, Abdul Jabbar Korai, the builder went ahead with the construction work despite the
stay order. The court ordered sealing and attachment when the matter was brought to its notice. The construction
continued even during attachment and the builder not only completed the structure but also transferred it to the purchaser-
allottees in gross violation of the court order and in the absence of completion, possession and no-objection certificates.
The builder failed to appear on successive dates and the KBCA took no action against him to ensure compliance with the
court order.

The bench, which consisted of Justices Munib Ahmed Khan and Rana M. Shamim, asked the chief controller of buildings to
appear on Dec 6 to explain the position personally. Meanwhile, strict action against the DCB concerned, who was
responsible for inspection and compliance with the court order, should be taken under the relevant punitive law and rules. A
non-bailable warrant was issued for the arrest of builder Suleiman. The warrant would be executed by the town police
officer, who would produce the respondent on Dec 6. Advocate Iqbal Memon, who represented the KBCA, was told to
convey the order to all concerned.

NGO fined
Another division bench comprising Justices Yasmin Abbasey and Mahmood Alam Rizvi awarded costs against a non-
governmental organization, Guidline, for filing a frivolous petition. The petition alleged that an eight-storeyed building has
been constructed on a plot in Gulberg without any sanction and otherwise in gross violation of the building rules. The KBCA
                                                             108
submitted a report in response to a court notice saying that not only the building plan was duly sanctioned but also the
building was raised in conformity with the plan. KBCA counsel Shahid Jamil Khan requested the bench to award costs
amounting to Rs50,000 against the petitioner for filing a frivolous petition containing totally unfounded allegations. The
bench reduced the amount to Rs 25,000 but warned the petitioner NGO against filing baseless petitions in the future.

TV channel ban
The Sindh High Court adjourned on Thursday the hearing of a petition against the suspension of Geo channels‘
transmissions to Dec 4 to ascertain whether a direct petition moved before the Supreme Court agitates identical or related
matters.

As the petition filed by M/s Independent Media Corporation (Pvt) Limited came up before a division bench, Deputy
Attorney-General Rizwan Ahmed Siddiqui referred to a press report and submitted that the matter had become sub judice
before the Supreme Court and propriety required that the proceedings in the high court be stayed.

The petitioner‘s counsel, Mohammad Ali Mazhar, produced an uncertified copy of the petition pending before the Supreme
Court and maintained that there was no similarity between the two petitions. He said the petition before the SC had been
filed in public interest under Article 184(3) of the Constitution while the petitioner before the high court was an aggrieved
party under Article 199. The former challenges the validity of the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment)
Ordinance without naming channels while the latter questions the suspension of Geo channels transmissions without
assailing any provision of the law but invoking the fundamental rights ensured by the Constitution. Had the respondent
ministry of broadcasting filed any comments, it would have become clear which provision of the law had been pressed into
service.

DAG Rizwan Siddiqui submitted that the Pemra Ordinance was the only law in the field to regulate the operations of the
electronic media, including television channels. Any petition questioning the vires of the ordinance must have an impact on
the working of channels and it was not appropriate to claim that the two petitions raised entirely different matters. The
outcome of the hearing before the Supreme Court must be awaited to avoid any confusion and multiplicity of proceedings.

Justices Munib Ahmed Khan and Rana M. Shamim, who constituted the division bench seized of the Geo petition, asked
the DAG to produce a certified copy of the petition pending before the SC and adjourned the hearing to Dec 4.
(Dawn-17, 30/11/2007)




DECEMBER
                                          Two fires hit city within 12 hours
KARACHI, Nov 30: The city‘s fire department was called out twice to tackle two separate fire incidents in as many adjoining
localities from late Thursday night to Friday afternoon.
As many as 150 huts, housing more than 700 people, were burnt down when a huge fire broke out in Shanti Nagar on
Friday afternoon.

This was the second such incident, surprisingly in adjoining areas, in less than 12 hours. According to an official of the fire
department, the blaze erupted at around 2.30pm in the Gulshan-i-Iqbal locality home to many gypsy families.

The official, who was not sure of the exact cause of the fire, suspected that the blaze was the result of a cooking flame
which spread within no time due to wooden structures.
He said that five fire tenders took part in the fire fighting operation. ―It took more than two hours to control the situation as a
large number of people had to be evacuated from the residential area,‖ he said.

Earlier, around 150 shops were gutted when a fire engulfed a furniture market in Gharibabad late Thursday night. Officials
of the fire department and eyewitnesses said that one of the shops in the market situated along main Sibghatullah Shah
Rashdi Road caught fire minutes after a blast was heard by the area people. The fire later spread to other shops.

―There is no clue which could establish the reason of the blast and then the fire. We suspect that it was a gas cylinder
blast,‖ said an official. He explained that the fire fighting operation was greatly hindered by darkness. However, more than
20 tenders managed to control the fire after almost five hours, he said.
―The markets have more than 200 shops. The incident damaged some 150 shops completely and losses are believed to be
in millions,‖ he added.
(Dawn-17, 01/12/2007)



                         Land grabber belonging to Shaheed Bhutto Group killed
A wanted land grabber which the police claimed belonged to the PPP-Shaheed Bhutto was killed by a security guard of a
building, when the accused tried to capture the building but faced resistance. Shops were closed and the situation was
tense in the area. A case was reported at the Sharea Faisal police limits.

Muzamil, a wanted land-grabber, was killed by the firing of guards of Own Heights, situated near Ashraful Maddaris in
Block-12, Pehlwan Goth, Sharea Faisal police limits. During the confrontation, two security guards, Rahimullah and Abdul
Waheed, were injured.


                                                              109
CCPO, Karachi, Azhar Ali Farooqi, confirming the incident, said that some students of the Madrassah were residing the
Own Heights building.

On Monday, the land grabbers, Chief and Muzamil, along with their companion, tried to capture the building but faced
resistance by the posted guards of Sindh Balochistan Housing Scheme, due to which the wanted land grabber Muzamil,
who belonged to Shaheed Bhutto Group, was killed while the other escaped. Later, the police was informed and reached
the spot and controlled the situation.

The residents of Own Heights claimed that for the past few months they received continuous threats from the land grabbers
Chief and Muzamil to vacate the building. However, they refused to do so, because of which on Monday the building was
targeted, but the security personnel posted at the building foiled the attempt and saved the residents‘ lives. In the firing, the
wanted land grabber Muzamil was killed.

After the incident, the residents of the area blocked the road to Pehlwan Goth and pelted stones on passing vehicles to
lodge their protest against the land grabbers‘ mafia and demanded their immediate arrest. Later, on the interference of the
SP Shah Faisal Town, the issue was settled after his assurance of cooperation. Till filing of this report the shops, usually
open all night, remained closed.
(The News-13, 04/12/2007)



                                                         Katchi abadis
KARACHI, Dec 4: Caretaker Minister for Katchi Abadis Syed Saleem Ahmed Zaidi has directed the Sindh Katchi Abadis
Authority (SKAA) to expedite work for granting lease to the residents of all notified katchi abadis in the province.
He was speaking at a briefing on Tuesday at the Authority‘s office where its Director General Ali Ahmed was also present.
The minister also ordered a strict observance of the 10-year ban on the sale and transfer of the katchi abadis after
allotment.

Mr Ali Ahmed informed the minister that the authority would launch low-cost housing projects in different districts of Sindh,
adding that a total of 173 acres of land would be utilised for the purpose. He also briefed the minister about the ―Sasti-Basti‖
project.

Mr Zaidi was informed that there were 539 katchi abadis in Karachi out of which 395 had already been notified and lease
work of 74 others was under way.
(Dawn-18, 05/12/2007)



                                  Gutter Baghicha turned into dumping ground
After several promises of restoration and complete refurbishment, the site of the once scenic Gutter Baghicha is now a
nightmarish wasteland. The entire park has been converted into a dumping ground by the City District Government Karachi
(CDGK), with the result that the place reeks of refuse.
The beautiful coconut garden located in the park, local activists recall, was used by film-makers in most major motion
pictures back in the day, starring the best of Lollywood like Waheed Murad and Mohammed Ali. However, the park no
longer shows any signs of its old splendour, thanks to the indifference of the relevant authorities.

President Pervez Musharraf had announced a plan to develop the 1,400-acre land into a modern park and a signboard
inscribed with the name of the park was also installed at the main gate. Ironically, the park has instead been converted into
a make-shift dumping ground for the 18 towns of the city, said Taj Shameer, a Pakistan People‘s Party (PPP) activist while
talking to The News.

The park, located in old Golimar, Site town, was also one of the largest sports centre of Karachi, where various teams were
eager to play cricket and football matches. Furthermore, Shameer added that the park was used by the residents for sports
and other healthy activities until it became intolerable for the townspeople because of the garbage.

Due to the burning of garbage in the park, area activists fear a rise in the air pollution. This, activists claim, is likely to result
in various lung-related diseases for the residents, particularly for those living near the park as it is located in the middle of a
thickly populated area.

Haji Wasil Khan, naib nazim Union Council (UC) 3, Site town, told The News that when he resisted the dumping and
burning of garbage at the site, the town nazim himself threatened Khan with dire consequences. ―The town nazim directed
his subordinates to register an FIR against those opposing the dumping and burning of waste over there,‖ he added.

UC 2 Nazim, Akram Memon, said: ―I have raised this issue in the city council meetings several times and personally went to
the city and Site town nazim for this problem but they could not take proper action. Once again, I have written a letter in
which the UC has highlighted gutter baghicha problem and sent it to the CDGK and Site town authorities,‖ he added.
The defunct Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), in collaboration with a local NGO, had also launched a plan for the
park called the Shehri Jungle Scheme. Even though a hefty budget was allocated for the project, still the development work
has yet to be initiated.

A residential scheme for the KMC officers titled the Officers Cooperative Housing Society was also launched on 400 acres
of land of the park but the then Sindh Chief Minister Abdullah Shah after receiving complaints by local people cancelled the
project.

Evevn though the head offices of Site town and the CDGK‘s workshops were situated close to the park, still both
managements never objected to the dumping of garbage.

Local activists said that they have made a number of complaints to the concerned UC and Site town administration but they
have not paid heed yet.
                                                                110
Moreover, Comrade Rafeeq, another area activist, alleges that the concerned town management has failed to provide
potable water to the locality as they get underground water, which has been declared unfit for human consumption.
―We have been told by certain non-government organisations that underground water in the area is dangerous to health but
we do not have access to potable water and the communities are compelled to quench their thirst by drinking it,‖ he added.
(By Jan Khaskheli, The News-19, 06/12/2007)



                        SHC seeks bar on utility connections to illegal buildings
KARACHI, Dec 6: The Sindh High Court directed the chief secretary on Thursday to constitute a committee to bar the
sanction of utility connections to unauthorised structures raised in violation of the building rules and regulations.
The chief secretary should convene a meeting of the officials of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, the Karachi
Electric Supply Corporation, the Sui Southern Gas Pipeline Company, the Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation and
other agencies involved in sanctioning utility connections to under-construction or newly-constructed buildings, a division
bench observed while hearing a petition against repeated gross violations of rules and court orders by an offending builder.

The bench, which consisted of Justices Munib Ahmed Khan and Rana M. Shamim, remarked that every third petition in the
high court pertained to unlawful constructions alleging dereliction of duty or outright corruption on the part of the Karachi
Building Control Authority.

A lasting solution should be found to the problem facing the KBCA in enforcing the building rules and complying with
judicial orders to save the court‘s time. A way out was to bar the grant of utility connections to under-construction or newly-
built structures without a no-objection certificate from the KBCA. This would facilitate the enforcement of building codes.

In the instant case before the bench, a builder had raised three additional floors on plot number Lee 3/26, Lea Market, Lyari
Quarters, and covered the mandatory open space despite repeated notices by the KBCA and orders by the court, including
sealing and attachment of the premises. A KBCA deputy controller of buildings suspected of complicity was on Thursday
found innocent as he was not posted in Lyari during the unauthorised construction.

The bench asked the KBCA to find out the real culprit and dismiss him from service. A non-bailable warrant was issued for
the production of the offending builder, who had allegedly been evading court appearance with the help of the police. The
town police officer was asked to execute the warrant and appear on Dec 13, the next date, along with the station house
officer.

KBCA chief controller Rauf Akhtar Farooqui appeared in person in response to a court order and stated that the authority
suffered from lack of enforcement powers and staff. It was short of demolition machinery and personnel. Police seldom
came to its rescue in eviction or demolition operations. Other utility providers were not interested in whether the building
being sanctioned connections was duly authorised by the KBCA. The KBCA had no police or magisterial powers to enforce
the building rules.

Ninety per cent of violations, the chief controller of buildings said, could be checked if the police and utilities co-operated
with the KBCA. The utilities should be barred from giving connections and property registrars from recording lease
documents without no-objection certificates by the authority. It would be impossible for builders to sell or lease out
commercial and residential properties to innocent purchasers without utility connections. The unauthorised structures would
be uninhabitable without utilities and the builders would not be able to create a third party interest to evade their own
responsibility. The unnecessary workload on the KBCA and the courts would be greatly reduced, the CCOB said.

Rs100,000 penalty
An unprecedented penalty of Rs100,000 as costs was imposed by the bench on the non-governmental organisation
Struggle Trust for filing another frivolous petition.

The NGO was previously fined Rs50,000 for fabricating allegations against a builder and the KBCA. The amount is to be
recovered within 15 days and Rs50,000 would be paid to the builder who was humiliated and arrested at the petitioner‘s
behest. The remaining half would go the SHC employees‘ welfare fund.

Advocate Shahid Jamil Khan submitted on behalf of the KBCA that there was no violation involved in the construction of a
building on plot number 1/2, Block-III-C, Liaquatabad Town, Nazimabad, and the petitioner had been moved only to
blackmail and harass the builder and KBCA officials.
The position was confirmed by inspection ordered by the high court. The KBCA counsel said the petition should be
dismissed with heavy costs as the previous penalty had failed to deter him from pursuing frivolous matters and wasting the
court‘s time.
(By Shujaat Ali Khan, Dawn-17, 07/12/2007)



                                   Oil seepage into water tanks in DHA
                             Residents cry foul as agencies blame each other
Residents of Khayaban-e-Sehar in Karachi‘s posh Defence area can‘t believe their bad luck. First they suffered from water
contamination owing to flooded roads caused by a poor sewage system. Now their water tanks are being contaminated
with oil, making their precious water unusable. They say that they have been suffering from this problem of contaminated
water for the past five days.
This has been caused by a breach in an oil pipeline, maintained by the National Refinery Limited, which passes through
this residential area. The damage was caused by excavation of pipes although the NRL is not willing to give details.
However, area residents say that the oil has seeped into a main water line which ran alongside the oil pipeline.

But the National Refinery Limited, who own the oil pipeline, and the DHA, through whose jurisdiction it runs, blame each
other in what can best be described as an environmental nightmare. The NRL claims that the DHA should have planned its
utility services in a better manner while the DHA says that the NRL has not been able to maintain its pipeline properly. One

                                                            111
question that no one has answered so far is why has such a pipeline been allowed to run through a purely residential area,
or better still, why was a residential area allowed when there was a pipeline running through this part of DHA. Observers
say that greed knows no bounds. As a result, the underground water tanks of the residents of this area are filled with water
mixed in oil.

The seepage is so great that it has turned the water tanks greasy and black oil stains are visible inside the tanks, said Mrs
Munawwar, a resident of Khayaban-e-Sehar. Experts say that these water tanks will have to be rebuilt as chances of
having them cleaned of oil and grease are slim and will pose danger to human health.

Residents have been using other sources of water to meet their needs while the DHA has said it is supplying water tankers
to this area on an emergency basis. But some residents complain that they had not received any tankers till Thursday.
The damage occurred on Tuesday when an excavator hit the oil pipeline that runs through the road when these pipes were
being replaced. ―It was hardly a few months ago when a sewage line leaked into the waterline consequently filling the water
tanks with sewage mixed water and now another incident has happened, said Mrs Saad, another resident.

Revealing as to how the waterline was damaged, an official of the NRL put the blame on the DHA. The official claims that
the DHA has installed the water lines in a ―really poor manner.‖ He said: ―We have been facing extreme difficulty in
replacing the oil line as not only are the water lines but the sewerage ones and other cables too have been laid very close
to the oil line. In such a situation when most of the waterlines are right above the oil line, it‘s really difficult for us to change
the oil line,‖ he added.

The oil pipeline that is spread on an area of 18km all the way from Korangi to Keamari covers a distance of about 850ft
merely on Khayaban-e-Sehar. One is unsure why this oil pipeline runs through a residential area and why the DHA has not
taken this into account when planning this area. The pipeline precedes the DHA development of the area.

The NRL official said that the oil line was laid in late 60s and its condition has deteriorated now. The line has been reported
leakage at several points. In the DHA area, three weeks ago the line suffered a leak at Khayaban-e-Sehar and the NRL
came to replace the line at this point. The NRL official said that the water lines should have been laid at an appropriate
distance from the oil line which is about six feet underground. The official said that the water line that had been damaged
during the excavation has been repaired by NRL.

For its part, the DHA has asked the NRL in categorical terms to give advance warning of any overhauling schedule so as to
minimize chances of recurrence of any such like incidents in the future. But the NRL official stated that there is no question
of warning in this case as the excavation work is being carried out with DHA‘s permission.
It may be mentioned here that more than forty houses in Phase VI have been identified whose underground water tanks
have been contaminated with oil as a result of the incident.

DHA claimed that the contaminated underground tanks of these houses are being cleaned and repaired by DHA teams on
an emergency basis. However according to the residents, nothing such has happened in fact. The residents are frustrated
with the situation and waiting for the DHA to come to their rescue.
―Although DHA official visited on Tuesday and promised to send someone for cleaning the water tanks by the next day, so
far no one has come to do the needful,‖ said another resident.

Additional Director Water Supply, Col Azmat Ali Khan maintained that the damaged water line is being repaired by DHA
and meanwhile the authority has started providing water to the affected residents through water bowzers. ―The department
has started flushing the underground tanks,‖ Col Khan assured, adding, ―For those who do not have the underground
tanks, they too are being provided water for their over head tanks. However it will take about a week as not more than 4-5
houses can be provided water in a single day.‖

The DHA official claims that it was the negligence of the NRL that it has taken a decade to find out that the oil line needed
to be repaired. ―The blackish colour of the soil in that area clearly shows that the pipeline had started leaking many years
ago but they have thought to replace it now when only a major leakage has occurred.‖
(By Aisha Masood, The News-19, 07/12/2007)



                                   Mass transit plan put in jeopardy by KBCA
KARACHI, Dec 7: By authorising a builder to construct a high-rise structure on a huge plot reserved for Corridor-III of the
Karachi Mass Transit Plan (KMTP), the Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) has dealt a severe blow to the anxiously-
awaited KMTP and the integrated plan of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), Dawn has learnt.
The authorisation, which has been granted in violation of the city‘s master plan, refers to a ground-plus-14 storey building
(with a penthouse) on a one-acre plot next to the Major Arshad Shaheed Nazimabad Bridge, in front of the Nazimabad
Telephone Exchange.

The proposed project is named Saima Bridge View and will have showrooms on the ground floor with luxury apartments on
the upper storeys. Once completed, the building will face the busy Board Office intersection and all vehicles commuting to
and from Saima Bridge View will use the intersection as the entry and exit points.

Inside sources told Dawn that the plot on which Saima Bridge View has been approved was earlier acquired by the now-
defunct Karachi Development Authority from the Board of Revenue and the same plot was later notified as reserve land for
the KMTP Corridor-III by the government of Pakistan in June 1995. Furthermore, a chapter concerning city transport in the
city government‘s Karachi Strategic Development Plan-2020 also specifically mentions this portion of land as having been
reserved for Corridor-III.

Elevated rail plan
Sources pointed out that with the construction of Saima Bridge View, difficulties will arise regarding the alignment of the
proposed mass transit rail system. The elevated rapid light rail is to ply between Surjani-North Karachi and Nazimabad,
with branches to Banaras Chowk, Liaquatabad, the Mangophir Road bridge along the 15.4 kilometre Corridor-III.


                                                               112
Pointing out that a KCR station is located near the site of Saima Bridge View, sources said that upon the revival of the KCR
and its integration with the station, the proposed elevated rapid light rail plan of Corridor-III will be jeopardised once the
high-rise building goes up in the vicinity.

Independent sources within the KBCA claimed that the Saima Bridge View building plan had been approved in favour of the
plot in question after the builder had obtained approval for the project‘s layout plan from the City District Government
Karachi‘s master plan department. The CDGK permission is a pre-requisite for having building plans approved by the
KBCA. ―If the plot had been reserved for Corridor-III, it was the CDGK master plan department‘s responsibility to check
before approving the layout plan,‖ maintained the sources.

Blame game
Dawn approached the KBCA controller of buildings (town planning) Ali Zafar Qadri and asked whether the plot for which a
KBCA approval had been granted for Saima Bridge View was actually reserved for Corridor-III. Mr Qadri said only that the
project‘s layout plan had been approved by the CDGK master plan department. Refusing to provide any further details, he
added that ―it would be much better if you were to contact the CCOB in this regard since he may know about the project‘s
building plan.‖

When CCOB Rauf Akhtar Farooqui was contacted, he said that the land in question had not been reserved for the KMTP
Corridor-III project. ―As a matter of fact, the plot belongs to a private party which also, in the past, gave some land from the
same plot when it was required for the extension of Nazimabad Bridge,‖ he stated.

Residents of North Nazimabad Block B told Dawn that they had raised objections over the proposed high-rise building by
submitting an application to the KBCA on behalf of a forum called Bazm-i-Hamayun. However, they said, the KBCA had not
entertained their request to withhold the building plan. They added that the KBCA has not only approved the building plan
for Saima Bridge View, it has also issued a no-objection certificate for the sale of showrooms and flats in the proposed
building.

The residents of the area expressed the fear that the deep excavation work that would have to be undertaken to raise a
ground-plus-14 building may also weaken the foundations of the nearby North Nazimabad bridge.
(By Azizullah Sharif, Dawn-17, 08/12/2007)



                           Artists’ role in promoting societal values emphasized
Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture (IVSAA), held its fourteenth convocation at the school premises on Saturday.
Ninety one students have graduated this year from the departments of Fine Arts, Communication Design, Textile Design,
Architecture, Interior Design and Ceramics.

Renowned architect and town planner, Arif Hassan congratulated the graduates and gave the convocation address.
―Societies that strive for building systems of equity and justice develop and prosper while those who do not, degenerate into
a state of chaos, conflict, fragmentation and corruption,‖ he said.

Hasan presented four ways which promote equity and justice in the society through their profession. ―Firstly, it‘s important
to develop ethical principles and secondly, to relate your work to the larger social and political context of the country,‖ he
said. The third essential thing he advised them was research that can feed into advocacy and policy and finally he asked
the degree holders to guide their professional institutions to take ethical positions on development and politics.

The Executive Director, Samina Raees Khan, in the welcome address for Hasan, said that though people might not realise
the need of disseminating knowledge through art and culture particularly in a ―troubled time,‘ she believes that a society
without arts does not have a soul, as it is intrinsic in the nature of successful societies.

Hasan proposed that for graduating architects and planners, there should be an oath which pledges that the architects will
not undertake any work that adversely affects an environment or endorses poverty.

While sharing his ideologies and principles with the audience, Hasan said that he had promised to himself that he will never
do projects that damage the ecology and environment of the area in which they are located, projects that increase poverty,
dislocate people and destroy the tangible and intangible cultural heritage and assignments that destroy multi-class public
space and violate building by-laws and zoning regulations. ―I will always object to insensitive projects that do all this,
provided I can offer viable alternatives,‖ he quoted from his own article and advised the new graduates to follow his lead in
this regard.

At present, 89 per cent of Karachiites live as nuclear families, as opposed to 61 per cent in the 1987 survey, which depicts
the fact that in Karachi, the concept of ‗extended family‘ is being replaced by ‗nuclear family,‘ he referred to the recent
Karachi Strategic Development Plan survey.

Hassan believes that such revolutionary changes are promoting anarchy and therefore are needed to be addressed. ―As
professionals, architects, artists, and designers you have an important role in promoting new societal values and the
institutional and physical infrastructure that goes with the changing demands of the social and physical context,‖ he
emphasised.

Amongst 91 new graduates, 42 have been awarded degrees in Communication Design, 26 in Textile Design, 15 in
Architecture, five in Fine Arts, two in Interior Design while only one in Ceramics. Interestingly, only 16 are male graduates
amongst 91 while the rest are females.

Furthermore, the IVSAA has initiated a four year degree course in Interior Design, which is the first of its kind in the country,
under the faculty of Architecture.
(The News-20, 09/12/2007)



                                                             113
                                                      Housing deficit
Pakistan's housing deficit, currently 6.19 million, is increasing annually by 270,000 housing units, according to official
sources, while private developers maintain that the country's housing deficit is seven million units and it is increasing by
350,000 housing units per year.

Pakistan requires about 0.5 million new houses every year to cater to the needs of its citizens, but only 150,000 houses are
constructed in the country during a year's time, with the exception of last year when 350,000 housing units were
established with an investment of Rs 150 billion plus the cost of land for their construction. If the pace of galloping deficit is
not contained, knowledgeable circles maintain, then the shortage will rise to a million houses in the not too distant future,
badly affecting the life of the common citizens, both socially and economically.

In 1998, the officials state, the housing backlog stood at 4.30 million units. Since then, it has increased to 6.19 million.
Factors like high population growth rate, inadequate attention towards construction of new houses, migration from rural to
urban areas and break up of the traditional joint family system have largely contributed to the acute shortage of houses in
the country.

The ever-widening housing deficit has resulted in mushroom growth of squatter colonies and slum localities, particularly in
main urban centres and metropolitan towns where many families are constrained to live in one-room shanty lodges.
Generally, slum-dwellers face many obstacles, which deny them a permanent and decent shelter with a minimum of basic
amenities -- water, sanitation, electricity, gas, drainage, and, above all, decent health care and educational facilities. As
such, the slum-dwellers are forced to live in sub-human conditions in overcrowded localities. According to a conservative
estimate, more than 20 per cent of Pakistan's urban population lives in slum areas that are devoid of basic civic amenities.

Some past governments tried to bridge the widening gap between the demand and supply of houses in the country. For
instance, in 1985, the Junejo government announced a policy aimed at catering to the housing needs of the citizens,
particularly the middle- and lower-income groups. Salient features of Junejo's four-year plan included: 1) free distribution of
2.2 million seven marla plots among the homeless in rural areas; 2) free distribution of three marla plots among the
homeless in urban areas; 3) allotment of three marla plots to the homeless in urban areas at nominal rates; 4) construction
of one million houses for the homeless people in the country, including at least 20,000 rural and 15,000 urban houses in
each province; 5) development of townships at all district headquarters; 6) allotment of 10,000 small plots, ranging from 90
square yards to 140 square yards, to the low-paid government employees in Islamabad; and 7) development and
regularisation of pre-March 23, 1985, katchi abadis and handing over proprietary rights to their legitimate owners.

After the dismissal of the Junejo government, the establishment and the bureaucracy circumvented the housing policy, so
as to accommodate the elite at the cost of middle and lower-middle classes of the society. As a result, the housing problem
has continued to grow, both in size and dimension, over the years. Also, against a shortfall of 2.8 million houses in the mid-
1980s, the country now faces a deficit of more than 6.19 million housing units.

Globally, the construction and housing industry accounts for 10-12 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and seven
per cent of employment. Recognising the gravity of housing situation, and the potential of housing and construction industry
as productive sectors of economy, the outgoing government accorded priority to this sector -- albeit for a short period.
Indeed, the housing industry has a great potential as one of the main drivers of economic growth. It can generate
employment opportunities as well as engage at least 36 other supporting industries, thus creating demand for growth of
economy on the one hand and alleviating poverty on the other hand.

The outgoing government also formulated a national policy for accelerating housing activity, aimed at both employment
generation and economic development. The policy was designed to facilitate provision of housing inputs like land, finance
and building materials. On June 8, 2005, the concerned authorities informed the National Security Council that the housing
sector envisages construction of over three million low-cost houses to partially meet the shortfall at an estimated
investment of Rs 900 billion over the next five years. To give a boost to the housing sector, the government enhanced the
house financing by banks to 10 per cent from the previous five per cent of net advances, while maximum loan limit was also
increased to Rs 10 million from the previous Rs 5 million, debt-equity ratio from 70:30 to 80:20, and loan tenure from 15
years to 20 years.

Taking cognizance of the galloping housing deficit, the outgoing government constituted an Advisory Board on Housing and
Infrastructure. Chairing the board's meeting in Islamabad on November 23, 2007, which was attended by high officials and
private construction companies, Board of Investment Secretary Mushtaq Malik said the aim was to address the issues
faced by the private sector and forward recommendations to the concerned authorities.

The outgoing government was contemplating to introduce a new enactment with a view to making the housing sector more
vibrant, minimising shortfall of housing units, eliminating land mafia and streamlining the business of private housing
societies. The move aimed at checking the manipulations of the land mafia and the unscrupulous elements amongst the
property dealers by requiring the plot owners to build houses within the stipulated period. In case of failure, their plots could
be cancelled or heavy fines could be imposed on them.

The proposed enactment also contemplated to make attorney letters, which owners of non-transferable plots issue to the
buyers, unacceptable to the authorities, so as to discourage the plots business and bound the allottees to build houses.
The proposed law also aimed at protecting the people from cheating by the land mafia by binding the housing societies,
while publicising their projects, to declare the land they own, along with lay out plan of their housing schemes, and also
surrender plots to the concerned development agencies for building roads, mosques, playgrounds, community centres, etc.

Though the fate of that law is not yet known, however, its provisions pertaining to binding the housing societies to declare
the land that they own, along with the lay out plan of their housing schemes and surrendering of plots to the development
agencies for utilities, is now being implemented. But some unregistered developers still continue to cheat simple folks, who
fail to observe legal requirements while booking properties. In view of the magnitude of the housing problem, it was
encouraging that the government was seized with the problem and appears to be tackling it. However, the housing deficit is
mammoth and it continues to swell. Therefore, it needs to be tackled assigning it the priority that it deserves with a view to
meeting the housing needs of the citizens, in particular the vulnerable sections of the society.
(By Alauddin Masood, The News, Policy-II, 09/12/2007)

                                                              114
                                          Housing imperatives for Karachi
                                                   By Arif Hasan
HOUSING is without doubt the most important issue facing the vast majority of people living in Karachi. The failure to
resolve it is creating stress, uncertainty and homelessness for the poorer and lower-middle-class sections of society and
increasing the rich-poor divide.

Since independence, a large housing demand-supply gap has always existed in Karachi. Previously this gap was
accommodated in katchi abadis.
However, this is becoming difficult as land that could previously be used for katchi abadis is now required for meeting the
demands of global capital and the emerging middle class. Due to this, prices of land in katchi abadis have become
unaffordable, even for the better-off among the poor. As a result, entire families have now started living on the streets and
in public spaces.Surveys suggest that the majority of these are those who have been evicted from their previous homes
due to rising rent and land use changes or due to the break-up of extended families, often because of disputes related to
ownership or to a lack of space. Once, Karachi housing-related professionals were very proud that unlike other mega cities
of South Asia, people did not sleep in the streets in their city. This is no longer the case.

The demand for strategically located land by commercial interests, often promoted by profit-seeking mega projects, is also
evicting people from existing katchi abadis. Since 1997, more than 50,000 Karachi households have had their homes
bulldozed. More than half these evictions have taken place in the last four years. In addition, since then 1,777 huts have
been burnt, rendering more than 12,000 homeless. Nineteen minor children, four young girls and six adults were burnt alive
in these incidents. Plazas have been constructed on some of these locations.

About 50 per cent of the evictees have been offered a plot of land in a relocation site. Urban Resource Centre surveys of
the relocation sites, which are 20 to 25 kilometres away from the city centre, show that relocation has impoverished the
affectees. This is because their travel costs have increased by more than 100 per cent, their women can no longer work,
their children‘s education has been disrupted, utilities are not available unlike previously, and the long hours of travelling to
and from work increase stress and disrupts family and social life.

News items indicate that the state intends to demolish katchi abadis in key locations and build eight-storey flats and
commercial centres in their place. The affected katchi abadi residents are to be allotted an apartment in these new
developments. This proposal is an open invitation to corruption and will not serve the interests of the residents. It has failed
in the case of the Lines Area Project in Karachi and has never been successful in other countries except where there are
strong governments.

Fish vendors, hawkers, motor mechanics and small commercial enterprises cannot operate from high-rise apartments.
Therefore, the upgradation of katchi abadis is the only viable solution. However, under the present rules only abadis that
were formed before March 23, 1985 are eligible for regularisation. This means that about half of the katchi abadi population
is vulnerable to eviction. In the interests of justice, equity and pragmatism, it is necessary to extend this cut-off date to June
30, 2007. The Punjab government has wisely extended it to December 31, 2006.
The major objection of the anti-katchi abadi-regularisation lobby is that they are ‗eyesores‘. However, experience from other
Third World countries shows that they can be made extremely attractive with very little investment. This writer has offered
to be an honorary advisor for a pilot project of this sort for two katchi abadis.

Surveys for the Karachi Strategic Development Plan 2020, a comparison of the 1981 and 1998 census and other official
documents show that housing conditions in Karachi have deteriorated. For example, in 1978 the katchi abadi population
was 55 per cent of the total population of Karachi. In 1980 it was 43 per cent. This decline was due to the social housing
policies of the Bhutto government in the ‘70s.

In 1998 the katchi abadi population was 50 per cent of the Karachi population (700,152 households) and in 2006 it was 61
per cent (1,200,000 households). ADB figures indicate that 50.5 per cent of Karachi residents live below the poverty line.
For katchi abadis this figure is 89 per cent of which 54 per cent are chronic poor. This is a major increase from previous
surveys.
In addition, in the 1980 housing census houses with separate latrines were 74 per cent, separate kitchens 65 per cent and
separate bathrooms 69 per cent. In the 1998 census, these figures have fallen to 47, 48 and 34 per cent respectively.

The Karachi Strategic Development Plan 2020 survey shows that 34.4 per cent of households earn less than Rs5,000 and
41.4 per cent earn between Rs5,000 and Rs10,000 per month. It is estimated that these households spend 75 per cent of
their earnings on food items and 18 per cent on utility bills. This means that the current housing market cannot possibly be
accessed by over 75 per cent of Karachi households.

Given the above conditions, a massive social housing programme is required for Karachi. An essential ingredient of this
plan has to be strategically located land on or near the main corridors of movement or near major work centres. Such land
is available but hoarded for speculation. To bring it into the land market, a heavy non-utilisation fee of at least 10 per cent
per year of its value is required. This will also make land prices more realistic.

In addition to the extension of the cut-off date, the imposition of the non-utilisation fee and the adoption of upgrading of
katchi abadis rather than redevelopment, a few more ingredients for social housing are required. One, between now and
such a time as we can close the demand-supply gap, informal settlements will be required. Plans should be developed for
the creation of settlements on the Khuda Ki Basti model for a five-year period.

Given the changing sociology of Karachi, the major demand in the next decade is going to be for low- and lower-middle-
income built units rather than plots. These can be provided on the basis of recovery of their costs at Rs10,000 to Rs20,000
down payment and a monthly payment of Rs1,500 to Rs3,000 for over a 15-year period. If the price exceeds this, it should
be subsidised from other sources.
However, the major problem for making such housing initiatives successful is related to accurate targeting and making
speculation difficult. Models for both of these can be developed with the help of katchi abadi CBOs. Initial research also
shows that with changes in bylaws and through innovative layouts, development costs can be halved of what they are
today. However, none of this is possible without political will and the creation of effective institutions.
(By Arif Hasan, Dawn-6, 11/12/2007)
                                                              115
                        Governor wants KBCA to ignore illegal NED construction
KARACHI, Dec 10: The governor of Sindh, Dr Ishratul Ibad, has directed an end to what he called ―unnecessary
interference‖ in the unlawful construction being carried out by the NED University of Engineering and Technology, Dawn
has learnt.

Sources said that the directive was issued by the governor‘s secretary, Nasar Hyat, in a communication to Chief Secretary
Fazalur Rehman, instructing him to direct his subordinates to refrain from stopping the university from carrying out
construction that is, according to the sources, actually against the law.

Reportedly, the NED University undertook construction/restoration work in its city campus building, which is protected
under the Sindh Cultural Heritage Protection Act. The law prohibits even the owner of a protected building from carrying out
any construction, restoration or repair work until a no-objection certificate has been obtained from the advisory committee
on cultural heritage, which is headed by the chief secretary. Furthermore, before undertaking construction in any building of
the city, a permission or approval of plans has to be obtained from the Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA).

Sources informed Dawn that the NED University had neither the NOC from the advisory committee on cultural heritage nor
the approval of plans by the KBCA. The absence of both these permissions renders illegal the work being carried out by the
head of the university‘s architecture department, Dr Nauman Ahmed, and his deputy, Anila Naeem, under the overall
supervision of octogenarian Vice Chancellor Abul Kalam.

‘Approval not required’
In his letter to the chief secretary titled ―NED University Restoration Project‖, the governor‘s secretary Nasar Hayat says:

―KBCA is raising objections on restoration work being carried out by the NED University at its city campus which is also
being highlighted by the press as a violation of KBCA rules and protection of heritage.

―Restoration work of the said building was assigned to NED University‘s Architecture Department by chief secretary Sindh
as part of the responsibilities for tabulating, photographing and recording all heritage buildings in its capacity as UNESCO‘s
sub office in Pakistan. ―This work is also being done with partial funding by the National Fund for Cultural Heritage (NFCH).
Any approval from KBCA in this regard is, therefore, not required.

―However, one meeting of the chairman, Architecture and Planning Department of NED University of Engineering and
Technology, with Secretary Culture Department, in this secretariat is required to be convened to settle any further details in
connection with this issue. ―It is therefore directed that KBCA may be directed, not to keep on unnecessarily interfering in
restoration work of the city campus of NED University which is one of the premier institutions of engineering education in
Pakistan.‖

Conflict of interests
Sources pointed out that the governor holds a figure-head position and does not have any executive authority, which rests
with the chief minister. It was surprising, therefore, that he issued a directive that relates to the day-to-day working of the
government. Furthermore, they said, the governor is the chancellor of the university and, as a result, is party to the conflict.
This weakens his authority to influence the work of other government departments in this regard, since there is a direct
clash of interests.

The performance of the city‘s various government departments is far from ideal and the KBCA is no exception, as is evident
from the jungle of buildings patently violating different sets of laws. However, said the sources, this was one case where the
KBCA had been working efficiently and had issued a number of notices to the NED University directing the cessation of the
illegal construction.

They pointed out that the KBCA had been as cooperative as possible within the law. It first gave the university time to
present the relevant NOCs, permissions and approvals, which has not been done so far. Even then the KBCA, keeping in
mind the credibility of the educational institution, refrained from sealing the premises of the university. In the case of other
builders violating the law, the government department has shown no such leniency.

Also keeping in mind of the status of the NED University, the Sindh culture department too did not take any stern action – at
the cost of even its own credibility since the department came under severe criticism for failing to take action against the
violators of the law.

Demoralising effect
The sources pointed out that the directives came from the highest office in the province through formal channels, and were
ordering government officials to refrain from performing their official duties in a case where the violators were influential
institutions or people. This, they said, had a demoralising effect on the officials who were left in a dilemma. If they followed
the governor‘s orders, the new government may take them to task for not performing their duties. However, if they refused
to follow the orders, the incumbents of high offices would become annoyed over the issue.

With such unusual orders coming from the high provincial office, said sources, it was not difficult to foretell the decision of
the advisory committee on cultural heritage, which is to decide the NED issue shortly. They also pointed out that the Sindh
culture department has a soft spot for the NED University since one of its faculty members, Anila Naeem, serves on the
SCD technical committee while another adjunct faculty member serves on the SCD advisory committee.

―One of major ills in society is that the rules and regulations are enforced on lesser mortals while the high and mighty or the
influential always get their own way without any problems,‖ said the sources. ―A few such lesser mortals who violated the
laws referring to protected buildings were prosecuted in court. But there are many instances when influential organisations,
including the Pakistan Rangers, the Cantonment Board, the army and the governor‘s house, have violated heritage laws
with impunity and no action has been taken against them.‖

(By Bhagwandas, Dawn-17, 11/12/2007)



                                                             116
                                    City council calls for preserving heritage
KARACHI, Dec 10: The City Council on Monday approved a resolution comprising various proposals made by the convener
of the council and naib nazim of the city for inclusion in the master plan for 2020.
These proposals were submitted by the convener on Saturday during a debate when she declared that the proposed
master plan document was not a final one as it could be modified and any member could give suitable proposals to be
made a component of the plan.

The resolution was tabled in the house in the absence of opposition members while they were in their chambers following
the suspension of proceedings for a prayer break by the convener.

When the members returned, they were surprised to see that the house was in session. The opposition members led by
Rafiq Ahmed and Mehbub Sheikh protested over the ―mysterious way‖ the resolution was submitted in the house and was
being adopted by what they described as a brute majority.
The resolution calls for preserving historic urban assets, including old buildings, trees, open spaces, old village clusters,
fishing villages, and protecting natural heritage -- mangroves, seawater channels and even dry riverbeds (which could be
landscaped) for recreation and leisure activities by enacting special bylaws for controlling development.

The resolution stressed the need for making the image of the city as a cultural city by promoting tourism, alleviating poverty
and improving quality of life by establishing a cultural board with representation of urban design professionals and creating
cultural enclaves for diverse community representation.

Other proposals in the resolution call for meeting the civic deficit, preparing detailed proposals for each town and locality to
counter the deficit in green spaces, recreation, sports, leisure and cultural activities. It also sought improved accessibility to
jobs and to prepare detailed area designs to make Karachi green to combat pollution and environmental hazards.
The resolution suggested identifying and improving environmentally-degraded areas through better urban design and
community participation. It also suggested constituting a committee to develop a strategy for possible effects of
earthquakes on defective buildings.

Sports complexes
In the utter confusion that prevailed in the house, the treasury adopted another resolution by a majority vote. The resolution
suggested that sports complexes and recreational centers be added to the master plan 2020. It proposed that one sports
complex be established in each town as was an international practice: one sports complex for one million population.

Earlier, when the house resumed its proceedings, opposition leader Ramzan Awan pointed out to the chair that the house
was inquorate. On his insistence, the session was suspended for 15 minutes.
When it reassembled, opposition members including Dilawar Shah and Ramzan Awan told the house that union council
nazims were not consulted when the master plan document was being prepared. Master Plan EDO Iftikhar Qaimkhani,
however, informed the house that the town nazims had been invited to various meetings. He added that a technical
committee had sent a questionnaire to the UC nazims. Upon this, the opposition UC nazims said they had not received the
questionnaire.

The EDO assured the house that he would submit the details to the house in its next session after contacting the technical
committee members. The opposition UC nazims also complained that funds for development schemes for 2006-7 had been
distributed on political grounds.
While the debate in the house was in progress, the convener announced that copies of the master plan would be made
available to all members on Tuesday, and till then the meeting was adjourned.
(By Latif Baloch, Dawn-17, 11/12/2007)



                                     Setting up of industrial zone at Port Qasim
                                      Sindh government reduces land price
The Sindh government has decided to reduce prices of land allocated for the establishment of an industrial zone on the
premises of the Port Qasim Authority (PQA). The decision was taken on the recommendation of the federal government,
sources said. The sources said that the proposal for reduction of prices of the land would be submitted before the Sindh
caretaker cabinet which is scheduled to meet on Tuesday (today) for final approval.

The sources disclosing this told The News that it was decided that prices fixed for this industrial zone, on the proposal of
the former federal minister for port and shipping, would now be charged Rs1 million per acre against the Sindh
government‘s earlier proposal of Rs2.5million per acre.

The sources said that the proposal has already been circulated among the caretaker ministers for seeking their opinion.
Earlier, PQA had proposed that the authority was willing to establish an industrial zone on 1,250 acres of its land but the
Sindh government had opposed the plan of setting up the industrial zone and asked the authority concerned (PQA) to
surrender the land to the government if it was not in the use of the PQA.
The sources said that later the Sindh government withdrew its objection on the directive of the federal government and
fixed the prices at Rs1 million per acre and asked the PQA to pay if it wanted to establish the industrial zone.
The sources said that the Sindh government had also decided to provide more than 300 acres land for the same purpose in
the same area and prices have been reduced from Rs2.5million to Rs1 million per acre.

The authorities claimed that after the reduction in prices of the land, the Sindh government would suffer billions of rupees.
However, the provincial government is optimistic that with the establishment of the industrial zone hundreds of thousands of
people would be able to get jobs.
The sources said that the caretaker cabinet would also discuss the wheat shortage crisis and the food secretary has been
asked to submit a detailed report about the demand and supply of situation of wheat and stocks position in government
warehouses. The sources said that the law and order situation, financial position of the province and other items are also
on the agenda of the scheduled meeting.
(By Tahir Hasan Khan, The News-13, 11/12/2007)

                                                              117
                                          Emboldened NED rebuffs KBCA
KARACHI, Dec 11: The NED University, having the firm backing of its chancellor, Sindh Governor Ishratul Ebad, for its
illegal construction activities, has started to throw its weight around and has snubbed the Karachi Building Control Authority
for trying to stop the work, Dawn has learnt.
Sources said that, in a harshly worded letter to the KBCA, the NED told the city‘s building regulatory authority that the
university did not need anyone‘s approval for any construction and that its (KBCA‘s) various ―illegal‖ construction notices
issued to the university were being treated as ―null and void‖.

Sources informed Dawn that the NED was carrying out the restoration/construction work at its city campus, which is
protected under the Sindh Cultural Heritage Protection Act. Nobody, including the owner, could carry out any
construction/restoration work in a building protected under this act, which prescribes heavy fines and long prison terms for
violators. An NOC/permission is to be obtained from the advisory committee on cultural heritage, which is headed by the
chief secretary, before carrying out any construction activities in a protected site.
The sources said that NED registrar Javed Aziz Khan‘s letter to KBCA chief Rauf Akhtar Farooqui on the subject ―NED city
campus restoration project‖ referred to the letter from the Governor‘s House that says that the culture secretary had been
directed to order the KBCA not to interfere with the NED.

Mr Khan, in his letter to the KBCA, further said that the ―NED does not require any approval/NOC from the KBCA for
starting/carrying out restoration work at its city campus on Maulana Din Mohammad Wafai Road near Pakistan Chowk.
―Being an autonomous body, i.e. a public sector university, NED does not require permission from any other body, other
than its own statutory bodies for all alterations and development work within its respective campuses.
―So, the notices issued by the KBCA deputy controller of buildings, Saddar, are being treated as null and void‖.

In the absence of the mandatory NOC, permissions and approvals, the construction activities being carried out by the
university‘s architecture department chief Dr Noman Ahmad and his deputy Anila Naeem under the overall supervision of
Vice-Chancellor Abul Kalam, are illegal.

The sources said that as the NED‘s Ms Naeem is associated with the Sindh culture department‘s technical committee and
another NED adjunct faculty member is associated with the advisory committee, the culture department was not taking any
action against the NED for its illegal construction.
The sources said that the KBCA officials concerned – chief controller Rauf Farooqui, controller Agha Maqsood Abbas and
deputy controller Abdul Rehman Ansari – are former students of the NED and on their part, initially did not believe that their
alma mater could be carrying out the illegal construction. But when the picture became clear to them, the KBCA started to
take the issue seriously and sent notices, one after the other, to the NED asking it to stop the illegal construction and
present the mandatory approvals.

Dawn‘s attempts to get the NED version on the issue also could not succeed as the university officials concerned refused
to give their side of the story and said that they ―Might talk to Dawn after a couple of months‖.

Going slow
The sources said that though the NED administration kept mum officially, they had been trying to manipulate the
happenings behind the scenes. A few weeks ago an NED delegation met the KBCA officials – chief controller Rauf
Farooqui and controllers Mohammad Shafique and Atique Baig, the latter also former students of the NED – and requested
them to look the other way while they (NED) carried out the illegal construction. The officials made it clear that since the
matter was being reported in the media, they could not ignore the issue; however, they could help their alma mater by
―going slow‖ – which they did.

In the meantime, the university‘s vice-chancellor succeeded in getting a letter sent to the chief secretary directing him to
order his subordinates – the KBCA etc – not to interfere in the NED issue.
The sources said that now, with the letter from the Governor‘s House in their pockets, the NED administration had been
emboldened and had written the strongly-worded letter – which looks unusual keeping in mind that it is coming from a
house of higher learning – to the KBCA on the issue.

The sources said that just by reading the letter, one can see what the educational institution, which claims to be a premier
and prestigious one, is probably teaching its students (engineers, architects, etc).
―It is teaching them that if you are influential or have the backing of influential people, you can violate any law of the land. It
is no wonder that more and more buildings, which are constructed in violation of relevant laws, are coming up in the city‖,
said an observer.

Governor’s House
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Sindh Governor‘s House, responding to the NED University‘s city campus restoration work
issue on Tuesday, said that ―Work is being done by one of the premier institutes of engineering education in Pakistan, in
accordance with heritage regulations. The university has also acquired the necessary NOC from the department
concerned‖, the spokesman added.
This is interesting as the university‘s registrar in his letter to the KBCA has stressed that the university does not require
permission from any other body, other than its own statutory bodies, to carry out work on its campuses.
The contradiction between the statement issued from the Governor‘s House and the NED registrar‘s claim is quite obvious.
(Dawn-17, 12/12/2007)



                            Webb playground occupied illegally, says petitioner
A former union council (UC) nazim challenged the commercialization of the Webb playground in the Sindh High Court
(SHC) and said that the hurriedly- and partially-constructed ―cash & carry store‖ building within the park premises was
precarious and could collapse like the Shershah Bridge.
Petitioner Mehfoozun Nabi Khan submitted that the Army Welfare Trust and M/s Macro Habib, with the support of other
respondents, forcibly occupied the area commonly known as the ―Webb playground‖ (in UC No.8 Jamshed Town), and
started construction, deliberately converting the amenity plot into a commercial complex.

                                                              118
Filing a rejoinder to the counter affidavit of respondent M/s. Macro Habib, petitioner Mehfooqun Nabi submitted that
respondent had concealed the facts, alleging it has illegally occupied the under construction building in hurry with the intent
to frustrate the status of the Webb-playground as well as the status-quo granted by Sindh High Court in the matter. He said
M/s. Macro Habib has occupied the under construction building without obtaining such a certificate. He stated such illegal
occupancy/use of under construction building is liable to be sealed according to law.

The Petitioner also referred the comments of Sindh Government‘s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and said that
M/s. Macro Habib has violated the provision of section 12 of Environmental Protection act 1997.
He further alleged that M/s. Macro Habib and Army Welfare Trust have also illegally occupied adjoining Plot No. 2448 and
said that if a joint survey by the Surveyor General Of Pakistan, Military Estate Office (MEO) and Lines Area Redevelopment
Project (LARP) be conducted, the truth about the organized efforts of land grabbing by the said agencies will be unveiled.
The petitioner, meanwhile also filed a statement in the SHC showing the defiance of court orders in respect of the fixation
of silencers on generators installed in the under construction building and removal of sewerage water from the site.
It may be recalled that the court has directed the Petitioner to submit a statement regarding compliance of court orders
dated November 08 in this regard. The petitioner opposed the establishment of Askari Bank branch in the under
construction premises on the ground that such an attempt will create third party interest and frustrate the interest of justice
which is vital in this public interest litigation. An SHC division bench adjourned proceedings till January 8.
(The News-13, 12/12/2007)



                                         Katchi abadi in Bin Qasim razed
A heavy contingent of police including railway police, along with some 15 bulldozers razed dozens of houses of GM Nagar
Village near Ghaghar rail crossing in the town in wee hours of Thursday.
The police entered into the houses and subjected women and children to torture. It also opened fire on protesters, leaving
some five villagers injured. Affected villagers Masood and Shahnawaz told PPI that more than a dozen bulldozers entered
the village and started demolishing houses. They said five villagers received bullet injuries including their relative Mustafa
Qureshi. They said they had been residing in the village since many years, but the administration razed the village in the
name of illegal encroachment.
Later, a number of affected villagers including women and children staged a protest demonstration and sit-in on National
Highway, blocking the road and jamming traffic for hours.
(The News-19, 12/12/2007)



                                Status quo granted to residents of two Goths
A division bench of the Sindh High Court on Wednesday restricted the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) from
demolishing the houses of the residents of Nagar Goth and Angara Goth, situated in Liaquatabad Town by granting status-
quo to the petitioners. The petitioner Ghulam Mustafa and 50 others through their counsel Shaukat Ali Sheikh submitted
that their houses have been marked with particular signs suggesting that they would be demolished.

They submitted that their houses were leased and the authorities concerned had extended no notice regarding demolishing
them. Making respondents CDGK, Director Removal of Encroachments and Government of Sindh, they prayed the court to
stop the authorities concerned from demolishing their houses and if it would be the only option the price of their houses as
according to the market value should be given to them.

The bench comprising Justice Yasmin Abbasey and Mehmood Alam Rizvi issued notices to the CDGK, Director Removal
of Encroachments and Government of Sindh granting status-quo to the petitioners and adjourned the matter till Jan 29,
2007.
(The News-14, 13/12/2007)



                    SHC grants status quo to residents of Nagar and Angara goths
KARACHI: A division bench of the High Court of Sindh (SHC) restricted Wednesday the City District Government Karachi
(CDGK) from demolishing houses of the residents of Nagar Goth and Angara Goth, in Liaquatabad Town.

Petitioner Ghulam Mustafa and 50 others, through their counsel Shaukat Ali Sheikh, submitted to the court that their
houses had been marked with particular signs, suggesting that they would be demolished. They submitted that their houses
were leased and the relevant authorities had given them no notice.

The petition cites the CDGK, director removal of encroachments and Government of Sindh as respondents, and requests
the courts to stop the authorities from demolishing their houses. They said if it was the only available option, the price of
their houses according to the market value, should be paid to them.
The bench, comprising Justice Yasmin Abbasey and Mehmood Alam Rizvi, issued a notice to the respondents and granted
a status quo to the petitioners. The matter has been adjourned to January 29.
(DailyTimes-B1, 13/12/2007)



                                    The politics of amenity plots in Karachi
An amenity plot, measuring 8.1 acre and meant for park and recreational facility in posh Clifton neighbourhood was given to
army, without seeking the ‗explicit permission‘ from the provincial Ombudsman office, in the wake of a restraining order,
passed by the Ombudsman against its lease and transfer in March 2002.
The News has learnt that People‘s Hippodrome project on the same site has now been given a new name- Karachi Polo
Club. Though the same project, located in the midst of residential and grammar school buildings, has been reportedly
shelved but horse-riders can be seen assembling at the site warming up for a friendly tie.

                                                            119
The City District Government Karachi (CDGK) has given the same amenity plot, located off main Khayaban-e-Saadi, to the
army‘s corps V under the adopt-a-park scheme. Reports suggest that a polo organisation had persuaded the army to
develop the acquired piece of land as a polo club. This was done in order to compensate for the old polo ground, which has
now turned into a part of CDGK‘s ambitious Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim project.

Moreover, sources have informed The News that the said plots were given to the army during the interim period, before the
City Nazim Mustafa Kamal assumed charge in October 2005. The District Coordinator Officer (DCO) Fazal Hussain was
heading the CDGK for the same interim period after the first city nazim had left the office. When contacted, the present
DCO Javed Hanif expressed his ignorance about the whole issue.

The same plot has been the centre of another controversy where the provincial government had asked the CDGK in 2005
to prepare for its sale, along with the adjacent plot, to the US government for a new consulate building. The move was
widely criticised by town planners and civilians alike; however, everyone seems to be keeping mum about the issue this
time around.

Prior to the US consulate‘s proposal, the other amenity plot number ST-21, situated in Block 5 of Clifton was reserved as a
park in the approved layout plan. However, it was allotted to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in 1986 for the construction
of the International Squash Complex within the park.

The Karachi Development Authority (KDA), now defunct, cancelled its allotment to the CAA in 1994 as it failed to construct
the complex within the stipulated period of two years. The CAA authorities challenged the allotment cancellation through
suit number 779/94 in the Sindh High Court. Later, both the parties agreed on an outside-the-court agreement September
17, 2004.

When the provincial government asked the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) to initiate settlement with the CAA
and get the total 39,344.63 square yards area of the plot surrendered to the authorities for sale to the US, the CDGK
submitted a brief status of both the plots in question.

―The draft agreement has already been approved by the District Coordination Officer and the agreement is going to be
signed shortly for restoration of the plot and construction of the squash complex,‖ the document says. ―The cost, the non-
utilisation fee (NUF) including the restoration fee has already been paid by the CAA as per the orders of Sindh High Court.‖

As far as the Peoples‘ Hippodrome project on plot number ST-21/B is concerned, it was again an amenity plot of more than
40,000 square yards in size, off Khayaban-e-Saadi in front of Boat Basin. As it was also reserved for park, the KDA
transferred it to the then Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) now CDGK for maintenance of park and recreational area.

In those days, the administrator of the KMC, Fahim Zaman, had established the People‘s Hippodrome recreational facility
within the park where Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan had performed on December 25, 1995. ―Through a unanimous
resolution, the then KMC council approved the cultural precinct proposal at the same site as the People‘s Hippodrome,‖ he
adds.

Furthermore, sources add that the open-air Hippodrome project site was given a stage, seating arena and an orchestra-pit
to facilitate a variety of cultural activities at the site. Even in February 2000, some NGOs held a cultural programme for
special children and the CDGK‘s social welfare and cultural department took care of everything.

According to an order passed by the Sindh Ombudsman as a suo moto case on March 28, 2002 vide no. POS/2521/J-
89/2001 KMC has been restrained to lease out the plot to Karachi Master Plan (KMP) theme park which is still operative.
The orders passed by the provincial ombudsman further said that this plot will not be leased out or transferred in any
manner by the CDGK without explicit permission of the ombudsman.

It is worth mentioning that two schools are already working in the vicinity. Karachi Grammar Junior School is on ST-20
whereas Karachi Grammar Senior School is on ST-19. Proposed shifting of the US consulate office would create a series
of problems for the US government and the government of Pakistan as well as the government of Sindh.

When the firms were being short-listed to run the Peoples Hippodrome, its public property status was taken in by the
provincial Ombudsman office. Justice Haziqul Khairi, the then Ombudsman of Sindh, passed a decision after visiting the
site, plot no. ST-21/B measured 40,000 square yards, along with the then City Nazim Naimatullah Khan.

―It was submitted by the KMC (CDGK) that although it had advertised for leasing of the amenity plot reserved for park, no
formal agreement was executed by it with any third party,‖ reads the detailed judgement. ―With the coming of the City
Government, the City Nazim also visited the amenity plot in the company of the Ombudsman on October 10 2001.‖

The Ombudsman passed a restraint order against leasing out the plot to KMP Theme Park. ―This park will not be leased
out or transferred in any manner by the city district government without the explicit permission of the Ombudsman,‖ says
the order. ―With these observations, the case stands disposed and the copy of this decision may be sent to the CDGK for
its perusal and record.‖

When contacted, Fahim Zaman Khan, the former KMC administrator, recalled that the Sindh Assembly in 1996 had passed
a unanimous resolution that the nature of the plot can not be changed, and even the sanctity of amenity nature of one plot
is not allowed to be traded with another one. He believed that an amenity plot meant for a mosque could not be exchanged
with another amenity plot meant for hospital or park.

―I wonder how many citizens will play polo on such a large plot,‖ exclaims Zaman. ―It is a piece of land of the city and it
should not be given to anybody for other purposes which are not meant for public participation. It is a prime piece of land
which according to real estate carries price tag of about Rs300,000 to 400,000 per square yard. How could you dispose it
off without even inviting objections?‖
(By Asadullah, The News-19, 14/12/2007)



                                                           120
                                               Our land rendered lawless
                                                 By Ardeshir Cowasjee
ALL is well. The sun shines upon the multicoloured heads of our beloved rulers, and things in the Republic chug along as
per normal.

A news item in the press on Dec 14 made our hearts glow. We read that the (totally unsuitable) caretaker prime minister,
glossy-headed Mohammedmian Soomro, is leaving today to perform what is obligatory upon all those who rule in this land
— Haj at the expense of the adoring people. And happily for him, he is not going alone. He has company. An entourage
which reportedly comprises 35 men and 15 women all described as ―his close associates and officials of PM and Senate
secretariats‖. They are all ―on the invitation of Soomro … but it is not clear who would bear the expense of this special
delegation to be airlifted on a special flight.‖ Well, to you and me it is abundantly clear — it is us.

The ambassador of the Kingdom called upon our caretaker and assured him that he and his entourage would be right
royally received. Bully for our cheerleaders — may all their sins be washed away (temporarily)!

The judiciary is not so felicitous. We, what has come to be known as civil society, want an independent judiciary. But the
government of the day would rather, obviously, have a subservient judiciary. It has dubbed our pre-Nov 3 judiciary as ‗non-
cooperative‘, meaning it did not fit in with the dictates of the executive and therefore had to be shunted out.
This attitude is nothing new. From 1954 onwards the judiciary has remained a target of all who have occupied our power
seats. Looking no further back than last century‘s decade of democracy, when our two democrats battled it out, with the
army‘s connivance, and managed to get in for two alternating terms each, we had Benazir Bhutto appointing and then
being disappointed and acting, and Nawaz who had the Supreme Court physically raided and then subsequently amended
the laws allowing him to get away with it scot-free.

Now, in this 21st century, President General Pervez Musharraf rid himself of the meddlesome chief justice he had
appointed, and who had duly sworn an oath to him, merely by declaring an emergency (constitutional, of course) and thus
suspending fundamental rights. In his defence he cited President of the United States Abraham Lincoln who had declared
an emergency in the 19th century.

Our two prime ministers of last century were both ousted twice for incompetence, corruption and various other sins of
commission and omission; one ended up in self-exile the other in imposed exile. These same two (though Musharraf has
no love lost for either), this century, have been invited back from their comfortable high-life exiles to participate in the
general elections of Jan 8, 2008.

Why? Easy to answer — to lend legitimacy to the election and its ‗fair and free‘ process, Musharraf in his eight years in the
national saddle not having been able to raise a new class of younger untainted politicians with no heavy baggage hanging
from their fulsome necks. Interpol had issued ‗red warrants‘ against one and are now confused as they do not know
whether the warrants are off or on.
All we can console ourselves with is the fact that there are far worse off countries in this world. However, this does not
justify at all the imposition of emergency on Nov 3 when the people were deprived of many of their fundamental rights
including the right to file a writ of habeas corpus.

What is this great fundamental right? In Britain of 1679, following judicial rulings, the writ of habeas corpus was issued by a
superior court in the name of the sovereign, and commanded the addressee (a lower court, sheriff or private subject) to
produce the prisoner before the royal courts of law. A habeas corpus petition could be made by the prisoner himself or by a
third party on his behalf and, as a result of the Habeas Corpus Acts, could be made regardless of whether the court was in
session, by presenting the petition to a judge.

The right of habeas corpus — or rather, the right to petition for the writ — has long been celebrated as the most efficient
safeguard of the liberty of the subject. The Habeas Corpus Acts ―declare no principle and define no rights, but they are for
practical purposes worth a hundred constitutional articles guaranteeing individual liberty‖ (Albert Venn Dicey). In most
countries the procedure of habeas corpus can be suspended in time of national emergency. (The reach of habeas corpus is
currently being tested in the United States.)

Our former chief justice, now declared dismissed, retired, defunct, was pursuing the case of some 200 ‗missing persons‘
(the ‗disappeared‘ of Pakistan). He was unable to find them. On one excuse or the other, the government lawyers and the
‗agencies‘ declared their inability to produce them and their ignorance of what had happened to them. Justice Chaudhry
was frustrated, helpless. After his departure it is unlikely that this case will be revived by the court as it is unfriendly towards
the executive.

Now, with conviction I will say that President Musharraf is not a vindictive man, but however camouflaged he remains a
military dictator. He has managed to keep himself from becoming an insufferable despot — so far. He is certainly not a
bigot at heart and believes in enjoying life, a gift of God. He would surely not wish to be remembered as a vengeful man.

Does he, as head of state and de facto head of everything in it, not owe some sort of explanation to the distressed, to the
hundreds (if not thousands) of mothers, fathers, wives, children, sisters, brothers of these citizens of Pakistan who remain
on the ‗missing persons list‘. Why can he not tell them how and why the 200-odd souls were picked up by his dreaded
agencies, and either disposed of, tortured, maimed, sold to the United States, died in custody, or that it has been proven
that they are absconders who have joined the Taliban or Al Qaeda and simply disappeared. He must know the numbers
and the details — if he doesn‘t he should as he has often referred to them as being citizens who have run off without telling
anyone to join the terrorists that flood the country.

Can he not put himself in place of the distressed and show some sort of feeling for them? After all he has a gentle, loving
mother and wife and loving children. Can he imagine how they would feel were he to suddenly disappear from their lives?
One other matter now pending in the Supreme Court is the case filed by Asghar Khan against the military generals of the
ISI for their distribution of public funds to influence a general election. Can Chief Justice Abdul Hamid Dogar not locate this
human rights petition (HRC 19/96), speedily hear it and decide before January 8? As the law stands, the ISI and its sister
agencies can fiddle with the elections to guarantee that they are ‗free, fair and transparent‘ to the detriment of the people.
(By Ardeshir Cowasjee, Dawn-7, 16/12/2007)
                                                               121
                                Fine on open plots likely to check profiteering
KARACHI, Dec 15: In what appears to be an attempt to block speculation in land prices, the city government is considering
imposing heavy fines on owners of residential plots who will fail to begin construction within a stipulated time.
It has become a common practice in the city that people buy plots in several housing schemes not for building homes but
for getting quick profit by selling them in the open market. Plots are being sold illegally in those schemes also where
transfer of ownership is banned.

This trend causes an unnatural and exorbitant increase in the prices of residential plots and a genuine buyer cannot afford
to buy even an 80-square-yard residential plot.

Talking to newsmen, the EDO Master Plan, Iftikhar Qaimkhani, said that it had been recommended in the Karachi Strategic
Development Plan 2020 that people who were not constructing houses on their plots would be given a specific timeframe to
utilise their land.

Citing an example of a housing scheme, Shah Latif Town on the National Highway, he said the scheme was notified in
1980 but the occupancy rate was only five per cent after passing 27 years.

Mr Qaimkhani said the city government was considering imposing heavy fines on such persons to curb the rising trend of
speculation in land prices. He explained that failing to pay the fine would result in the cancellation of the ownership and the
city government would return the original cost of the piece of land to the owner and auction the plot in the open market.

The EDO said the city government was encouraging more and more housing schemes in the city but it wanted to
discourage the trend of speculation in the land prices.
He hoped that if the policy was accepted, the rate of occupancy in several housing schemes would improve.
(Dawn-18, 16/12/2007)



                                   Ragpicking brothers die in godown blaze
KARACHI: Two brothers, aged 14 and 10, were burnt to death while they were sleeping in a paper godown near the KESC
head office in Saddar that caught fire at 3:00 a.m. Saturday. There were two older men inside as well, but they ran out to
save their own lives.

Fire brigade spokesman Abdul Waheed told Daily Times that one of those men, Habibullah, the godown paper contractor,
had called them. But by the time the fire fighters arrived, it was impossible to get inside and it is believed they were already
dead. ―We decided to deal with the spreading fire instead,‖ Waheed said, adding that it took them two-and-half hours. They
don‘t know what caused it.

The deceased were identified as 14-year-old Muhammad Esa and 10-year-old Jan Muhammad. They lived near Afghan
Camp at Soharab Goth, were garbage pickers and had spent most of their lives in the burnt go-down.
There were two other people also in the godown - Habibullah and Mehboodullah - who fled from the scene, fearing for their
own lives. Habibullah ran the go-down which was rented from a man named Ayub Lala.

Resident Irshad Ahmed told Daily Times that the brothers had been sitting outside the go-down where they had lit a wood
fire to keep warm. He claimed they had fallen asleep without putting it out.

Ambulances from different welfare organizations and the local police reached the scene as well. The bodies were taken to
Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) but the families took them home as soon as possible. Inquiry officer SI Zahoor Bhatti told Daily
Times that the families was engaged in funeral preparations and had not registered an FIR so far.

Residents claim that a wedding had taken place near the go-down and the children had been playing with fireworks. The
fire brigade is looking into the possibility that this caused the fire. Saddar Town SP Tahir Naveed said that the police didn‘t
have evidence to support the wedding firework theory.
(By Faraz Khan, DailyTimes-B1, 16/12/2007)



                                  NAB probe into Rs10bn land scam closed
KARACHI, Dec 17: The National Accountability Bureau, Sindh, has closed down an inquiry into the land scam that involved
over Rs10 billion and influential people including some government functionaries, it has been learnt reliably here on
Monday.

According to the sources, the amenity land located near Banaras Chowk on main Manghopir Road in Orangi Town had
been allotted to Maulana Abdul Hamid Badayuni, chief of Anjuman Tableegh-ul-Islam, for setting up of educational
institutes in 1962. However, sources said, the trustees in connivance with the government officials and land grabbers
decided to make a windfall and sell the precious land. Hundreds of shops and other commercial and residential
establishments had been set up on the land that originally was allotted for educational purposes, they added.

The complainant in this case, Sindh Shehri Federation, after learning that the inquiry has been closed down has
approached NAB chief Naveed Ahsan. Alleging that the influential culprits are being protected by his subordinates in the
NAB Sindh, the complainant has urged him to institute a high-level probe into the issue so that culprits could be brought to
book and punished in accordance with the law.

The NAB had sent a letter to anti-corruption establishment stating that the inquiry against former deputy commissioner,
Karachi West, and others had been closed down and asking the ACE to depute relevant officials to get back the
documents, which were earlier obtained by the NAB.


                                                             122
The letter (2231/27/IW-2/CO-F/T-23/NAB Sindh/2007), written by Deputy Director (Coordination) Lieutenant Commander
Syed Fahim Uddin to Anti-Corruption Establishment Director A.D. Khowaja, on the subject ―inquiry against Naveed Kamran
Baloch, Ex DC-(West) Karachi and others‖ states:

―Reference: Your letter No 10-Comp/K/2001/10484-86 dated nil October 2007. Reference above letter, the subject enquiry
was closed on the similar allegations. Relevant official may be deputed to collect the ACE documents then obtained by
NAB, please,‖ concludes Syed Fahim Uddin.

Land allotment
Sources said that the government had allotted a five-acre land off the main Manghopir Road near Banaras Chowk to the
chief of Anjuman Tableegh-ul-Islam, Maulana Abdul Hamid Badayuni, on January 20, 1962 for the construction of Muslim
Missionary College. The allotment was made on a condition that if the allottee/s failed to utilise the land for the specified
purpose within three years, the land would be resumed by the government.

Just over a year later, the sources said, Maulana Badayuni was allotted 10 more acres adjacent to the land already allotted
to him on April 10, 1963 under the same conditions.
The land was given on a 99-year lease at a cost of 50 paisa per square-yard, plus Rs50 per acre annually. Though the
payment was made by the Anjuman, the land was not used for the purpose it was allotted for over 35 years.

Encroachment
With the passage of time as the value of land went sky-high, some trustees of the Anjuman in connivance of the
government functionaries reportedly decided to make a windfall and sell the land that was allotted for educational purposes
at a very nominal cost. Subsequently, overnight encroachments appeared and cement concrete structures were raised on
the precious land, with the trustees and the government functionaries keeping a mum over it. The issue was raised
occasionally though it appeared more of a cosmetic effort to keep the record straight.

Hardly a couple of acres were left for the college while rest of the entire land was disposed off and in the process the
trustees, government officials and land grabbers reportedly made billions of rupees.

After the death of Maulana Hamid Badayuni, his son Maulana Abid Qadri took over the charge as president of the
Anjuman. He informed Deputy Commissioner, West, Naveed Kamran Baloch in 1997 that the Anjuman had adopted a
resolution that it might be allowed to sub-lease five acres, which, it claimed, had been encroached, to the occupants. DC
Naveed Baloch granted the request on June 22, 1997 but clarified that the said permission did not authorise conversion of
the land for any commercial purposes.

Gross violations
According to the sources, when the Anjuman failed to utilise the land for over 35 years and thus violated the specific lease
conditions about the purpose and timeframe, the land should have been resumed by the government. On the contrary,
Deputy Commissioner Naveed Baloch authorised the sub-lease of the land though the resolution was not at all binding on
the government.

In a communiqué sent to the commissioner on the issue, DC West Tariq Niazi, who succeeded Kamran Baloch, stressed
that the sub-leases be cancelled, the land be resumed by the government, and cases of fraud be registered against the
trustees and others.

Anti-corruption Establishment Director Ghulam Qadir Thebo, in his communication on the issue with the ACE chairman
enquiries, had also found ex-DC Kamran Naveed Baloch, Mukhtiarkar Masroor Buriro, Tapedar Yusuf Kalwar, 15
beneficiaries and others involved in the grave misappropriations.

Shoaib Bukhari, who was then the provincial labour minister, had also written to former chief minister Liaquat Jatoi on the
issue urging him to take stern action against those who had misused the amenity land. However, no action had been taken
against the people involved in the misappropriation of the amenity land.

The Anjuman Tableegh-ul-Islam was set up nearly half a century back with an aim to promote religious education in the
country and overseas by establishing seminaries, schools, jamias, darul uloom, darul moalimeen, an Islamic university on
the lines of Egypt‘s Jamiatul Azhar.

President Ayub Khan had laid the foundation of Jamia Taleemat-i-Islami on the allotted land on Sept 3, 1962 and
announced a donation of Rs100,000 for the institution. However, only one college that had been established on a couple of
acres still functions.

Sindh Shehri Federation chief Tahir Sawati, who has now approached the NAB chief, said that he would continue his
struggle against the influential people, powerful land grabbers and government functionaries till the issue was resolved, the
land was resumed and the culprits were brought to the book.
(By Bhagwandas, Dawn-19, 18/12/2007)



                           Demolition of controversial building stayed by SHC
KARACHI, Dec 18: The Sindh High Court on Tuesday stayed the demolition of a structure allegedly raised in violation of
building regulations.
The builder, Abdul Razak Khamosh, said in his petition that he constructed a building consisting of shops and apartments
on a 4,000-square-yard commercial plot in Block 10-A of Gulshan-i-Iqbal. He had a building plan of four floors in addition to
the basement, ground floor and a loft.

The plan was approved by the Karachi Building Control Authority and the Faisal Cantonment Board as it partly fell within
the latter‘s jurisdiction. However, he constructed eight instead of four floors along with a penthouse and submitted
regularization plans to the authority and the board. While there was no response from the KBCA, the cantonment board told
him that his regularization plan and application were being processed.

                                                           123
The KBCA, instead of considering his regularization plea, issued him a demolition notice. He prayed through advocate
Mansurul Arifin that the KBCA be asked to withdraw the demolition notice and decide his plea for regularization. Pending
the hearing of his petition, the notice should be suspended. Issuing a notice to the KBCA, a division bench comprising
Justices Yasmin Abbasy and Mahmood Alam Rizvi restrained it from demolishing the building till the next date of hearing in
January, 2008.

The plot, according to the KBCA, was a matter of dispute and over 15 cases relating to its ownership were pending in the
courts. It was allotted by the Karachi Development Authority to the Pakistan Railways for amenity purposes. Besides four
additional floors, the builder has encroached upon the cut-line.

Eviction stayed
Another division bench consisting of Chief Justice Mohammad Afzal Soomro and Justice Qamaruddin Bohra, meanwhile,
restrained the railway authorities from evicting Lt-Col Hafeezullah Khan from a bungalow on Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road in
Karachi Cantonment.

The petitioner submitted through advocate Mohammad Nawaz Shaikh that he was deputed to work as joint director,
vigilance cell, Pakistan Railways, for two years in Oct 2005 and was posted in Karachi. The railways allotted him a
bungalow for his residence as joint director. He was recalled by the Pakistan Army recently and the Railways served him a
notice to vacate the bungalow.
The petitioner said under the Accommodation Allocation Rules, 2000, he was entitled to retain possession of the bungalow
till the army allotted him a new accommodation. Issuing a notice to the respondent railways, the bench asked it to maintain
the status quo till the next date of hearing to be fixed by the office.

Meanwhile, advocates Fareed Ahmed A. Dayo and Halima Khan have assumed charge as additional advocates-general.
The vacancies were caused by the elevation of Dr Khalid Ali Z. Qazi and another law officer.

Oct 18 case hearing adjourned
Justice Agha Rafique Ahmed Khan of the SHC on Tuesday denied the hearing of the petition filed by the state against the
orders of the district and sessions judge (East) pertaining to lodging an FIR of the Oct 18, 2007, twin blasts case on behalf
of PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto.

Justice Agha Rafique Ahmed observed that the application was filed against his own passed orders, and directed not to fix
the case before him.

However, the SHC had earlier granted an interim stay to the petitioner. Benazir Bhutto‘s counsel Farooq H. Naek was also
not present on Tuesday.

The ADJ (East) had on Nov 5, 2007, passed the orders directing the SHO of Bahadurabad police station to lodge an FIR of
the twin blasts on behalf of the PPP on the application filed by party leader Qaim Ali Shah.
Being dissatisfied with the court orders passed by the ADJ (East), the state, through the advocate general Sindh, moved
the SHC submitting that the FIR of the blasts had already been registered on behalf of state (FIR No 183/2007).
(Dawn-19, 19/12/2007)



                                     Land scam behind Radio Pakistan fire
Radio Pakistan Karachi has started its transmission service more than a fortnight ago from its new building of Pakistan
Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) located just opposite the Civic Centre Karachi.
After the raging fire this place was not fit for transmission purposes. Informed sources told The News on Tuesday and said
only senior news producers were at the moment working in one room in the Radio Pakistan Karachi building as most of the
places for the coverage purposes were in the city. But programme on air were being done from the PCB Building, Gulshan-
e-Iqbal.

Sources said at present this building was occupied by the Accountant General Sindh office but they would vacate this place
very soon. It would be decided later that when this small news section would be shifted to the PCB building.

City District Government Karachi (CDGK) sources said as per records this land was the property of the city government
and very soon the CDGK would try to get its possession and declare this a heritage building. History of Radio Pakistan
Karachi is in this building.

In a couple of days or after Eid-ul-Azha a presentation would be given to City Nazim, Syed Mustafa Kamal, for acquiring
this land. The CDGK is the owner of this land worth billions of rupees.
The raging fire of Radio Pakistan Karachi had destroyed 15 studios but now a controversy has erupted over the land
ownership. Now it is clear that the whole building of Radio Pakistan has been declared dangerous for transmission as well
as other radio business purposes.

Informed sources said some people were considering disposing of this land at throw away prices. CDGK sources said no
one would be allowed to sell this prime land.

The officials at that time claim that land of present Radio Pakistan Karachi and the Veterinary Hospital were owned by the
District Local Government Board Karachi and later it was transferred to the District Council Karachi.

Late G M Syed used to sit as President of the District Local Board at that time in these two premises.
The present land today is supposed to be owned by the city government. Radio Pakistan‘s former officials say that this land
where now the building has been destroyed due to the raging fire and this land are owned by Radio Pakistan and it was
purchased either by the district local board or District Council Karachi, but yet no documentary proof is there in this regard,
officials said. But when it was purchased there was a binding that this land will only be utilised for the construction of Radio
Pakistan building but now the building after the fire is looking like a haunted place and is in complete darkness.


                                                             124
It is reported that behind this huge fire there is a big conspiracy as some Radio Pakistan officials of Lahore and Islamabad
have plans to sell this land worth billions of rupees, despite that it has been declared a heritage building.

According to real estate agents present the land of Radio Pakistan Karachi and the Veterinary Hospital is worth billions of
rupees.

However, former KMC official when contacted by The News said the city district government was the successor of all the
district councils accordingly ownership right of both the lands of Radio Pakistan Karachi and Veterinary Hospital are the
property of City District Government Karachi (CDGK).
The former official who desired to remain anonymous said under section 80-81 the CDGK was the successor of the district
council, thus the land was owned by the CDGK. Replying to a question he said no one could sell this land without the
consent of the CDGK.
(By Fasahat Mohiuddin, The News-13, 19/12/2007)



                                                  Appeal to save land
Syeda Hajra Haqqani, General Sectary, Jamia Mustafa Madni Trust appealed to the Governor Sindh to intervene into the
matter and keep the land-grabbers away from their property.

Talking with the media on Wednesday at the Karachi Press Club (KPC), she said that several officers of the Landhi Town
Administration are trying to illegally occupy the land used by the madrassa and mosque students for the last 50 years.
She further said that despite the stay-order issued by the Sindh High Court, Town Municipal Officer (TMO) and other town
administration staff are continuously threatening them to withdraw possession of said property.

According to her, since the Town Nazim Landhi has been suspended for unknown reasons, these land grabbers are using
political influences and trying to demolish the madrassa and mosque situated in the premises of the trust property.
She also informed the media that during the Zia regime they were receiving financial support from the government but
during last six-to-eight years, land mafia is trying to illegally seize the property.

Hajra further said that some portion of the land has already been grabbed by them and now they are trying to build a road
in between the property which is another tactic to illegally occupy the property. ―There was not such plan to construct any
road nor there any use of it and despite they have detail documentation and legal possession of the property some influent
people using town machinery is forcing them to surrender,‖ she added. Darul Uloom Jamia Mustafa Madni and Darbar
Haqkani situated at Rehri Goth, Landhi, is also being threatened by the local police and the land mafia for long time, Hajra
added.
(The News-20, 20/12/2007)



                                                     Rule by mafias
IT is ironic that with all the power and resources at their command, the writ of the ruling elites is weakening. In many
countries the authoritarian regimes run by powerful oligarchies not only succeeded in solving economic problems but also
provided basic infrastructure to their people, while maintaining law and order with an iron hand.
Our misfortune is that although we have suffered over 30 years of military rule, our basic problems have remained
unresolved.

Pakistan is a classic case of a country that started off well and at one time was commonly presented as a ‗model of
development‘ for newly independent nations but then started slipping.

Today we stand at a point where in addition to political instability, which is the bane of our lives, we face multifaceted
crises, with mal-governance being the foremost.
If we had continued to move forward steadily, the way we did in the initial years, by now the majority of our population
would have been free of poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy.

Our misfortune should be studied to highlight (a) what happens when the ruling elites have no vision, concentrate all
powers in their hands, indulge in politics of exclusion, give priority to individual and group interests at the cost of national
interest, and slowly destroy all existing institutions; (b) who occupies the space left vacant when institutions become weak
or extinct; and (c) how this situation impacts on the lives of ordinary citizens.

In the developed world the private sector has largely replaced the government as far as provision of basic services is
concerned, but in Pakistan it has neither the capacity nor the willingness to do so. As a result, the vacuum left by the public
sector has been filled mostly by the ‗informal‘ sector, which no doubt provides many essential services. But a thin line
separates the ‗informal‘ operations from those that resemble the mafia in their modus operandi.

In a country like Pakistan where 74 per cent of the population survives on two dollars a day, people expect the government
to provide basic services like potable water, electricity, housing, sanitation, health, education, micro finance, etc, but when
the government fails to do so they start looking for alternatives. They have to survive one way or another.
The role of the informal sector starts with basic services, but once this phenomenon is triggered it spreads its tentacles into
other areas as well.

Examples include the rise of the ‗building mafia‘ in the inner-city areas 20 years back, the billboard mafia in the late
nineties, and the recent mega-development mafia that wants to grab all open spaces and the coastal belt in Karachi with
the backing of global capital.

The weakening writ of the government and large-scale corruption has allowed the mafias to cause huge losses — both
financial and social — to our country. Everyone knows that there are powerful organised groups which indulge in large-
scale smuggling that accounts for nearly 25 per cent of all our imports. Then there are drug mafias, human traffickers and
gunrunning mafias which have destroyed the lives of millions of people.
                                                             125
There are ‗factories‘ which produce spurious medicines and supply them to government hospitals; ‗booti‘ mafias which rule
the examination halls; student organisations which control universities and professional colleges; and ‗bhatta‘ groups which
collect billions of rupees annually on one pretext or the other. In the courts there are ‗zamanat‘ mafias and ‗nazarat‘ mafias.
Let us explore a few cases from Karachi and observe the effects created by the absence of appropriate institutions of
governance.

Take housing first, because it touches the lives of the bottom 60 per cent of the city‘s population who earn close to
Rs10,000 per month. Till the early eighties, development authorities provided land at affordable prices or built-up units to
these people in various housing colonies. Therefore the number of katchi abadis was small and the housing shortage had
not assumed the proportions of a major crisis. This was the time when the term ‗land mafia‘ was heard for the first time. In
the absence of any control it soon assumed the role of a parallel system for provision of land to the poor.

A 1985 survey showed that the land mafia was grabbing nearly 1,000 acres of state land every year and earning Rs250-
300m by selling it to needy people.

Today this is a multi-billion-rupee business, and more than 55 per cent of Karachi‘s population now lives in katchi abadis.
From the police and board of revenue officials to politicians and local musclemen, everyone is involved and they get their
respective share from the mafia. During the last three to four years this activity has assumed epidemic proportions but no
action has been taken to stop it.
The reasons are obvious. If the land mafia is working on the periphery of the city, the ‗building mafia‘ dominates the city
centre and old residential areas. It makes billions by violating building regulations with impunity.

Next let us turn our attention to transport. Karachi is perhaps the only city of its size that does not have a public transport
system. At least six million people commute daily and are forced to use either their own vehicles or private buses.

There is nothing wrong in leaving the transport system in private hands, provided its financial needs are taken care of by
the government, there are enough buses and the system is properly regulated. In the absence of any such framework, the
bus operators in Karachi are a law unto themselves and care two hoots for traffic rules. They also ignore all laws pertaining
to fitness of vehicles and usually employ untrained, uncouth and underpaid drivers. They treat the commuters with utter
contempt and physically assault them if some one dares to raise a voice.
All this happens because the transporters pay regular ‗bhatta‘ to the traffic police. If action is initiated against violators
under public pressure, they resort to strikes which cripple the whole city. Karachi, as a matter of fact, is hostage in their
hands.

Karachi has another distinction in the area of basic civic services: over 50 per cent of its total water supply (650 mgd) is
either stolen or wasted. The ‗tanker mafia‘ plays a major role in this theft. There are only a few legal hydrants but no one
knows how many illegal ones exist. Conservative estimates show that this mafia generates an annual income of over
Rs40bn. As a result the majority of citizens, specially those living in low-income areas, get little or no supply at all. If this
theft, wastage and mal-distribution is controlled, every person in Karachi can get enough water for daily use. But who would
dare control the tanker mafia, as most of the powerful people, with the connivance of government agencies, are involved in
this lucrative racket.

The rise of these mafias clearly shows that we have reached a stage of institutional exhaustion. The state can neither
provide the needed services to the people, nor can it control the illegal activities of the mafias. This is a bleak scenario.
Some may call it cynical but given our conditions we cannot expect any improvement in the foreseeable future.
(By Tasneem Siddiqui, Dawn-7, 24/12/2007)



                               KBCA moves to get Rs10 billion land retrieved
KARACHI, Dec 25: The Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) taking note of the ongoing illegal construction on a 15-
acre amenity plot on Manghopir Road has urged the Site Town to take action for the removal of the encroachments, it is
learnt.

According to sources in the KBCA, the government had allocated five acres of land near Banaras Chowk to Maulana Abdul
Hamid Badayuni of the Anjuman Tableegh-i-Islam in 1962 almost free of cost for the establishment of an Islamic University
on the lines of the Jamia Azhar of Egypt. A year later 10 adjoining acres were also allotted for the same purpose. The
allotment was made on a condition that the land should be utilised for the specified purpose within three years. The then
president Ayub Khan had laid the foundation stone of the Islamic Mission College and had also announced a donation of
Rs100,000.

However, the descendants of Maulana Badayuni with the connivance of the authorities concerned and the land mafia have
allegedly started illegal construction on the amenity plot.

The KBCA in its communication on the subject ―Unauthorised construction in Pakhtun Market, near Badayuni College, Site
Town, Karachi,‖ to the Site town municipal officer has said:
―The market has been constructed by encroaching upon the amenity plot, existing since about 20 years and the
encroachment is now going on, as first floor is under construction.

―The matter is already under inquiry before the competent authority and in this regard a detailed report has also been
prepared by the then DC-West.
―The removal of encroachment is dealt with by the lesser and authority nominated by the government, Anti-encroachment
Cell, city government within their jurisdiction under the law.
―It is requested that the case may be referred to the authority concerned for removal of the encroachment under its
statutory responsibility, please‖, concludes KBCA‘s deputy controller of SITE Town in his letter.

The sources said that the land in question remained unutilised for over three decades and with the appreciation of land
prices, which had sky-rocketed over time in the vicinity, Maulana Abid Qadri and his relatives -- the son and other
descendents of the late Maulana Hamid Badayuni-- were trying to misuse the amenity land.

                                                             126
According to KBCA sources, illegal structures on the plot were constructed overnight while the Anjuman Tableegh-i-Islam
and the city administration opted to act as silent spectators. However, they added, both sides relied only on a few
statements protesting the activity so as to keep the record straight.

When the major portion of the land was encroached and the illegal construction got completed, the Anjuman approached
the then deputy commissioner, West, Naveed Kamran Baloch, with a request that the Anjuman had adopted a resolution
that it be allowed to sub-lease the encroached land to the encroachers.

Accepting the request, the official allowed the sub-lease of the amenity land, though his order also said that the land being
sub-leased could not be used for commercial purposes. The sources said that both the request and the subsequent order
were illegal.
They said that had the land been encroached upon, the Anjuman Tableegh-i-Islam would have made efforts to get it
vacated or if that was not possible then, the land should have been returned to the government.

But the Anjuman sought the permission to sub-lease the amenity land, which was illegal and against the allotment
conditions and showed malafide intentions of the organisation, they added.
They viewed that the then DC, Kamran Baloch, on his part, should have resumed the land when, in violation of the lease
conditions it was not utilised within three years of the allotment.
The matter was raised during the tenure of Mr Baloch‘s successor, who in his report confirming the illegal actions of his
predecessor had recommended that cases be registered against the government official, the office-bearers of the Anjuman
and the encroachers.

However, no headway was made in this regard as those involved in this misappropriation were very influential people,
sources said.
The former Sindh labour minister, Shoaib Bokhari, had also approached the then Sindh chief minister, Liaquat Jatoi, and
had reportedly informed him that the precious amenity land was being misappropriated and had requested that steps be
taken against the culprits and the land be resumed so that it could be used for its original purpose but to no avail.

The National Accountability Bureau (Sindh) had also initiated an inquiry into the matter sometime back but due to reasons
best known to the relevant authorities the probe never took off properly and the case was put on the back burner.
The sources said this showed the influence of those involved in the land scam involving Rs10 billion.
(By Bhagwandas, Dawn-17, 26/12/2007)



                                        Two more SKAA men suspended
KARACHI, Dec 27: Caretaker Minister for Local Government Syed Saleem Ahmed Zaidi on Thursday ordered suspension
of two more officials of the field office of Sindh Katchi Abadis Authority (SKAA) in a fake lease scam.

The action has been taken against Shaharyar Khan, a deputy director, and Shahid Hussain, an office superintendent.

On Wednesday, the minister had ordered suspension of SKAA director-general Ali Ahmed Lund and director Karachi field
office Dr Asghar Shaikh on the same charges.

However, Mr Lund on Thursday issued a duly signed and stamped letter clarifying that on his own request, the Sindh
government had posted him as an officer on special duty in the S&GA Department.
(Dawn-18, 28/12/2007)




                                                           127

								
To top